“The end result seems to be that the people that deal with the problems are then portrayed as the problem” – Gary Loftus
I first met Gary Loftus and Jonathan Cross in spring 2007 and stayed in close touch with them over a period of about six months, until they were ready to go public with a huge list of complaints they had about the new property they had bought off plan in Beswick, part of the New East Manchester Housing Market Renewal area. We got their story into a number of publications, including this feature in Inside Housing. The result was that the developer offered to buy back their property – an offer they refused – although three years later a number of issues persist.
Gary and Jonathan are exactly the kind of people regeneration schemes like New East Manchester are meant to be about….bright professionals who have lived in East Manchester their whole lives and who bought into the vision of lovely, modern mixed tenure communities. The reality, as Gary explains in the clip above, hasn’t been quite so rosy.
Quoting from my orginal piece:
“We’ve had in excess of 300 faults. We’ve had two en-suite showers, two kitchens, six front doors and three lawns.
“All the rear windows had to be replaced, we’ve had problems with our patio doors and tiles replaced…”
He takes a deep breath and carries on: “All the properties were fitted with Whispergens – a combined heat and power system which keeps breaking down. We’re meant to be having them replaced, but they’ve been taken off the market.
“On top of this, the builders have breached their planning consent. Our house ended up around 60 sq ft bigger than it should have been, and we’ve been advised by the council’s planning department that a retrospective application is now needed.”
…….Cross is not a one-off. I met residents of more than 10 neighbouring properties, and all told a similar story.
“We’ve faced fault after fault,” says Alan Jones, who chose the development for its proximity to his beloved Manchester City FC.
“Twelve windows had to be replaced because they were scratched. Ceilings have been replastered because it was all falling off. The kitchen was put in wrong.
“Lead blew off the roof in the high winds and smashed our shed. The render was cracked and three internal doors have been replaced. Electric wires had not been screwed in properly. The list goes on.”
** All my work on regeneration, dating back to 2006, is now available at my Street Fighters project website **