Upper Clapton housing block ‘cocooned in scaffolding’ for months after workers botch window repairs

L to R: Allen Goodall, Stuart Round, Cllr Ian Sharer, James Pope, Karoese Akusu, and Olivia Piepe, o

L to R: Allen Goodall, Stuart Round, Cllr Ian Sharer, James Pope, Karoese Akusu, and Olivia Piepe, outside their block. Picture: Catherine Davison - Credit: Archant

A housing block in Upper Clapton has been “cocooned” in scaffolding since November because contractors ordered the wrong size windows for the flats.

Inglethorpe House. Picture: Catherine Davison

Inglethorpe House. Picture: Catherine Davison - Credit: Archant

People living at Inglethorpe House in Geldeston Road have endured 18 months of shoddy, unfinished work thanks to a wealth of incompetence.

The 36 flats were meant to get new windows but Hackney Council ended up ditching contractor Lakehouse and switching to Wates, which hired firm Sovereign Group Ltd.

Scaffolding went up around the block last year but things have now gone from bad to worse.

“We’ve been in a scaffolding cocoon since November,” said leaseholder James Pope. “They did a test run in an empty flat and Hackney’s consultants, Mase, signed it off. They got to doing the windows for my neighbour, Allen. He knew what he was looking at and knew they were doing a terrible job. He could see an 8cm gap along the bottom of his window. The worker tried to fill it in and Allen told them to get out.

“What happened was a surveyor measured the window in the empty flat and assumed the rest of the block was the same. So they made all the windows the same size, which they are not. Hackney stopped the work and told Wates to sort it out.”

The neighbour, Allen Goodall, worked in home improvements before retiring. He said: “It’s terrible. I don’t expect them to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear but it should be acceptable.”

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Workers have since come back twice to try and install the same windows and been told to stop.

James said cement has also been poured down drains. “Every time it rains they get blocked up and it floods the ground floor flats,” he said. “It flooded a wire connecting the electricity to the entry system. Three of the doors don’t lock. There are vulnerable elderly people in here.”

Hackney’s housing boss Cllr Clayeon McKenzie said: “Council quality checks found the installed windows fell below the standards expected. The supplier was given the opportunity to correct the concerns but was unable to find a solution. The windows have been remade and will be trialled to ensure they are fit for purpose, they will then be installed once we are happy with the quality. We would like to apologise for the unacceptable delay and any inconvenience caused.”

Sovereign Group Ltd did not respond to a request for comment.