A HOMEOWNER has faced a nine-year nightmare battling a developer after changes to his home left it unsellable and un-mortgageable.
Mark Ingle moved into Vaughan Williams Way in Blunsdon St Andrew with his family in 2011 but found that the house only had four bedrooms instead of the seven promised, so he agreed to alterations which added three extra bedrooms.
He claims that he learned four years later these changes were carried out without planning permission and did not meet build regulation standards.
The only planning application in Swindon Borough Council’s planning archive for the property itself is a proposed certificate of lawfulness in 2017 for continued use as a seven-bedroom property rather than the four-bed it originally had permission to be.
The application, reference S/LDE/17/1580, was submitted by Pegasus Group on behalf of Crest Nicholson, who then asked to withdraw it in 2018 before any decision was made.
Mr Ingle noticed structural problems with his home, including an open cavity in his lounge and loft which create gaps into a neighbouring houses and are a potential fire hazard.
He added: “They let in a terrible draft so downstairs is freezing, and the whole lounge vibrates when next door turns the washing machine on, so I try not to have much in there.
“Cracks have appeared in the walls inside and outside the house, it’s horrendous, I’m baffled that they thought this was acceptable, it’s crazy, they put people at risk.
“When I raise these problems with Crest, they mess me around and claim I’m being hostile but I am just trying to get this sorted.
“I paid a lot of money to add in those extra walls and doors and electrical points but it would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds more to fix everything.
“I just want them to accept responsibility for the problems they caused, be accountable for the shoddy work they carried out and turn the house back into a four-bed so I can sell it and move on with my life.
“At the moment, my savings are caught up in this house but it’s not in any condition to sell, so I’ve been gridlocked in this situation for years.”
Along with the cracks and vibrations, front tiles were not fixed in place properly and his bathroom appliances were not properly attached to the wall.
The Adver has seen emails from Crest Nicholson to Mr Ingle which attempt to pass on responsibility to the National House Building Council to sort out these problems.
NHBC’s response said: “The issues reported were within the builder’s liability period and so remain the responsibility of Crest.”
Mr Ingle added that his home did not have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and his boiler has been replaced three times but did not have a gas safe installed until the third replacement.
After the most recent round of correspondence, Crest Nicholson chief executive Peter Truscott said that Mr Ingle’s emails would no longer receive a response as he had accused staff of “lying, fraud and intimidation”.
A Crest Nicholson spokesman said: “Mr Ingle has consistently rejected our repeated attempts to resolve his enquiries and this has led to a breakdown in communications. As a result we have advised Mr Ingle to conduct his claims through the appropriate legal channels with the NHBC, and we hope that this matter can be resolved quickly.”