31 Jul 2015

A response to media reports about Applewood

This week there have been stories in the local and national press about issues with building defects (or snagging issues) and residents’ dissatisfaction at the Applewood development in Stroud.

GreenSquare and HAB Housing worked in partnership on the design and development of Applewood, with GreenSquare managing the delivery of the project – including the contract with Gloucester-based Markey Construction to build the homes.

Much of this week’s media coverage has focused on Kevin McCloud personally and on HAB, the development company that he founded. As HAB has made clear in a separate statement today, HAB was not the building contractor for Applewood and has no legal relationship with the building contractor or sub-contractors. Therefore, it is misleading to suggest that HAB is somehow responsible for the construction-related issues highlighted in the media reports.

GreenSquare has been working to deal with a series of ‘snagging issues’ picked up from our surveyors’ survey visits earlier in the year. Some have been cleared by the contractors responsible, while others have been resolved directly by GreenSquare. We are glad that the majority of these have been resolved in recent weeks.

Following a query about the gas meter at one property, we asked an independent Gas Safe Registered expert to have a look at all the gas installations our contractor had completed at Applewood. He found that they did not comply fully with regulations because pipes had been routed within the cavity walls. But he confirmed that they are not considered to be dangerous and can continue to be safely used until remedial work is carried out.

The contractor is completing surveys at each home to establish exactly what remedial work is necessary. We’re now working to ensure that all options are being discussed with residents so that each household can choose the one that best suits them.

We fully understand and share residents’ frustration and concern that this situation has arisen, and remain committed to working to ensure that all outstanding issues are addressed as quickly as possible, both to the residents’ satisfaction and Gas Safe compliance. 

We have opened a temporary office in the local community centre, across the road from Applewood, enabling us to better co-ordinate repairs, talk face to face with Applewood residents, and be on hand to deal with any remaining issues. For the last few months we have also been issuing a weekly update newsletter to all households.

In conclusion, we leave the final word to Applewood residents who were not quoted in the media reports this week, but who have used social media and the online comment forms to make their voices heard:

“We absolutely love Applewood and like any development there will always be issues but they will be sorted and have been blown out of all proportion!!! A shame as applewood truly is fantastic and we love it.”

“While it is true we have got to have the gas pipes changed, as well as other snagging you would expect in a new house, I am really happy with the quality of my home. It is a really fantastic community as well I can't imagine living anywhere else.”

“This is a lovely place and although we have to have some work done, it won't take away the fact that I too love our home and the community we live in.”

“It should also be pointed out that not all the houses and flats have been affected by this and that in the vast majority of cases the snagging issues are minor and have been sorted out quickly.”

“We have now lived in our lovely house for nearly a year and can honestly say that Applewood is a fantastic place to live. The community spirit here is like no other place that I have lived before and my children, partner and I have made some great friends and really do feel part of a happy little community.”

“The negativity portrayed [in media reports] is not a true representation of how everyone feels here and speaking for myself, my family and my neighbours can honestly say that this is a fantastic place to live and we couldn't be happier with our home.”

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