Local people have given a cautious welcome to the city council’s announcement that the authority will be seeking further compensation from Keepmoat, the contractors in charge of the building work at Wilmcote House, north Somerstown.
The news broke after Labour’s housing spokesperson and local ward representative, Cllr Stephen Morgan has been working with residents since Christmas to help address local concerns. Support has included hosting two residents’ meetings for people to have their say.
In a story titled ‘Fury as renovation delays leave Portsmouth residents living in a nightmare’ in The News on 9 August 2016, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing agreed with Cllr Morgan and recognised that the delays and disruption are having an impact of residents’ lives.
He has committed to enforcing the terms of the contract, meaning contractors could be short by many thousands of pounds. Some of this could be used to compensate tenants for the inconvenience caused.
Work on the redevelopment of the properties started back in December 2013. The scheme has been plagued with problems throughout the project, with residents increasingly dismayed by the setbacks.
News also broke that the building works are delayed further, with the first block – whilst due to have been completed in May – still has work outstanding, and the overall scheme pushed back again from January 2017 to later in spring next year.
In hearing the news, Wilmcote House resident Chris Evans said:
“I am assured the council’s administration is finally listening. This redevelopment has been a nightmare for three years. The whole thing’s a joke.
I hope this isn’t just warm words and we see better compensation and a decent rent rebate all residents rightly deserve for all the disruption we’ve suffered.
Meetings must continue with progress reports given to the tenants by Keepmoat and better communication put in place. The contractors owe us that much at least”.
Cllr Stephen Morgan added:
“Solutions need to be found to finally solve the problems residents have faced with the ongoing building work, and fast. I’ve heard too many horror stories, and residents feel let down by this project and rightly deserve action.
The council and contractors need to crack on and get this project back on track. I am happy to work with the council’s administration to make sure this happens”.