10:15AM, Friday 14 July 2017
Frustrated residents of a block of private flats in the town centre met Slough Borough Council’s deputy leader on Saturday to discuss a range of problems.
Peter Bothwell, 57, and five other residents of Nova House, in Buckingham Gardens, spoke to Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central).
Mr Bothwell has concerns over the building’s cladding, which failed a safety test on Friday, June 30. He has also complained about the hot water system, which he says has failed to function properly 20 times in the past 21 months.
The UNITE union representative says his allocated car parking space was changed to one which had an abandoned car left in it and he had to persuade property managers Ringley Group not to fine him for using another space.
The building’s fire escape is the carpeted main stairwell and a gym, which was advertised in 2015 when the property first opened, was never built, he said.
“The tenants just want to live in a nice environment, and a happy and safe environment,” he added.
He said some tenants have already said they are leaving after the cladding test failed.
“They’ve had enough. They already wanted to leave; they’re concerned about their safety. They’re fed up.”
Following Saturday’s meeting, Cllr Hussain has promised to do whatever she can to support the tenants.
The councillor criticised the Ringley Group for lack of communication with tenants.
Richard Vennables, 53, whose mother Rita Pell owns Mr Bothwell’s flat, also claims landlords are being overcharged for hot water.
He says they are being charged fees by both Thames Water and by Data Energy, which owns the communal tank which supplies hot water to the office-to-residential site.
But Mr Vennables says Thames Water says it is unable to fix problems with the water system.
He and Mr Bothwell say Ringley has asked owners to contact them instead of Thames Water when the water system breaks down, claiming that contacting Thames Water would be in breach of the property lease.
In response, Ringley Group director Mary-Anne Bowring said she was unable to comment on the design of the heating and hot water system but said it had been signed off by the relevant authorities.
She said building regulations did not prohibit fire escapes being carpeted and said Ringley had never seen any suggestion of a gym being built at Nova House. She advised residents to take the matter up with the developer if they felt they had been misled.
She added the abandoned car was due to be removed by today (Friday) and said it was misleading to suggest it was difficult to maintain communication with Ringley.
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