Harborough MP calls out 'cowboy' developers who left his constituents living in excrement

Two of the constituents have faced years-long fights to sort out sewage problems, while others have been hit with unexpected fees or have had to use their own time and money to sort problems with their new homes.
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Harborough’s MP has claimed ‘cowboy’ developers have left some of his constituents battling major problems with their homes.

Two have faced years-long fights to sort out sewage issues, while others have been hit with unexpected fees or have had to use their own time and money to sort out their new homes.

Neil O’Brien raised his concerns in Parliament last month as part of a debate on the proposed Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which is now due to progress to the House of Lords.

Harborough MP Neil O'Brien (Photo: www.neilobrien.org.uk)Harborough MP Neil O'Brien (Photo: www.neilobrien.org.uk)
Harborough MP Neil O'Brien (Photo: www.neilobrien.org.uk)

The legislation is intended to improve home ownership for leaseholders and freeholders in England and Wales.

Mr O’Brien raised the cases of residents on two Leicestershire estates. He said they “have faced sewage in their street and even flowing up into their sinks, dishwashers and showers”. Some living there have been left “unable to wash” because of it, he said.

He said one constituent who moved into a new home in Kibworth had been subjected to “numerous rat infestations due to the pipes in her new home not being fitted correctly”. She has also had to deal with “mould in the bathroom because the bath was also not fitted correctly”, he added.

Another local resident in Market Harborough had had “more than 200 snags on their property”, Mr O’Brien told the chamber.

He said: “The toilets did not drain properly, and the downstairs toilet did not work at all for many months, which meant that their disabled daughter had to go upstairs to use the loo.

“The entire garden needed to be excavated to be fixed and, alarmingly, the fire alarms did not work properly.”

Speaking specifically on leasehold concerns in his constituency, he raised the case of “Karen”. He claimed she had told him dealing with her leasehold company was “like having a part time job” and said she was “being charged for, among other things, terrorism insurance for a fence”.

Mr O’Brien said another constituent, “James”, had told the MP that he had spent “about 50 days’ work over the first couple of years” dealing with his unadopted estate and trying to put right some of the “mistakes” made by developers.

Developers are also “wriggling out of planning conditions” agreed when approval is given for a new development, the MP claimed. These conditions are typically intended to ensure a development is built in a way that provides a suitable standard of living and that residents will have access to all the services they need.

Mr Brien added: “One of the most common abuses is that developers promise that there will be a new GP surgery as part of a new estate, but in fact have no plan, no intention or no way to deliver it. I am afraid I know several colleagues who have had that happen in their constituencies.”

He concluded: “People have worked hard, saved up a lot, done all the right things, and bought a new home, but they are getting mugged by an industry that, although also having some good players, has some real cowboys.”