A HOUSING association has been slammed by residents who say their homes have been left looking like a "bomb site" for months.
Despite being told work on their houses would only take a few weeks, locals have instead had to put up with months of construction hell.
The nightmare began with an ambitious project by their housing association, Believe Housing, to make the properties 'greener'.
The energy-efficient measures, including the installation of solar panels and insulation, reportedly cost the housing association over £80,000.
But the tenants of Proudfoot Drive, County Durham, have complained of months of shoddy workmanship and delays that has left their homes in a tip.
While heat pumps have been connected and gas has been detached, tenants have said many of them are now without a reliable source of hot water.
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Other residents have said the construction project has led to loose windowsills and steps, damaged fittings, and a tiny decorating budget to bring their homes back to life.
Six months on, although most of the work is now complete, residents still feel they are being let down by the housing association.
Maureen Spensley, 71, who has lived in the area for almost three decades, told The Northern Echo: “We should have been moved out of these houses because we were living on a bomb site.
"We cannot see an end to it. I just want my home back.”
Mrs Spensley said workmen had left a dangerous loose switch in a cupboard that could have given her an electric shock.
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The local also said the new insulation means she now can't shut her kitchen window because the wall and window sill is too wide.
Other shoddy work includes kitchen cupboards with the laminate peeling off, busted fixings, and large patches of broken plastering left on the walls and ceilings.
The construction nightmare came while Ms Spensley was grieving her son's tragic passing at the age of 39 before Christmas at the same time she was battling breast cancer.
She said: “We were grieving for my son and they wanted to come the day he was getting buried. I said: ‘You cannot, we are burying my son’.
“He was buried on the Thursday and they came on the Monday. We were taking sympathy cards down.
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“They said the worst part be the rewiring and told my it would put back the same if not better than it is now.
“I have lymphoedema and I have not been able to let a nurse come since February because of the mess.”
Neighbour Gemma Dowson, 36, who has three autistic children, said: “They said it was going to take seven weeks for the full street and four days to do my house.
“That is the biggest lie I was ever told. There is muck everywhere and we have had no kitchen cupboards on the walls for months. The kids have not had their toys because I put it all in storage.
“You go to start decorating and they come back out and mess it all up."
It is still not finished yet. The work has been horrendous and it just goes on.
Another disgruntled resident, mother-of-four Lyndsey Jardine, 33, said: “It has been an absolute nightmare. The whole thing.
"When the first got started we did not have any heating or hot water for 15 days. It has been happening since January when it has been really cold.
“Five times since then we have gone for four days without hot water. We have had to put up with seven months of hell.”
Ruth Dent, director of assets and compliance at Believe Housing, said: “We understand that the substantial works required to make existing housing stock suitable for a low-carbon future can be messy and disruptive.
“We acknowledge that while working with our delivery partner, EQUANS, to put together a programme of work, seven weeks per home was not long enough, and would like to apologise to our affected customers that they were not given a longer timeframe at the outset.
“This coming winter is going be challenging for everyone, with spiralling energy costs, however residents who have benefitted from this scheme will be able to have warm homes this and every winter.”
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