Andrew Jones MP highlights housing estate problems in Commons debate
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Last updated Apr 19, 2024
Screengrab of Andrew Jones MP speaking in a House of Commons debate on New Build Homes Standards: North Yorkshire.
Andrew Jones MP

The problems experienced by residents on new housing estates were highlighted by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones in a House of Commons debate yesterday. 

The debate on New Build Homes Standards: North Yorkshire – in reality a single question-and-answer exchange between two members of the same party – was the final item of the afternoon session. 

Mr Jones said he had been running a ‘fair deal for new estates’ campaign for over a year and had been alerted to the issue when residents in newbuild properties came to him for support in dealing with problems they were having with their new homes.   

He said: 

“There are too many individual cases to detail in this debate. We are talking about over 200 cases located across Harrogate, Knaresborough and some surrounding villages, so the issue is not limited to a specific geography.

“The developments include Kings Croft, Garten Close, Harlow Green, Swincliffe Mews and others.”

Kings Croft is a Harron Homes scheme in Killinghall, Garten Close is an Avant development in Knaresborough, Harlow Green is a Taylor Wimpey scheme in Harrogate and Swincliffe Mews is a Newby development in Harrogate.

Mr Jones said the problems could be divided into two groups: issues with individual properties and issues across whole estates. 

Estate-wide issues cover matters such as drainage, road surfacing, street lighting, street signage and play areas, and “simply being a good neighbour during the final build-out of an estate by keeping roads as clean as possible, and making consideration for delivery times and the types of vehicles used”.

Screengrab of Andrew Jones MP speaking in a House of Commons debate on New Build Homes Standards: North Yorkshire.

Andrew Jones MP addressing the House of Commons yesterday. Image: Parliamentlive.tv.

He said: 

“I have had complaints about how long it has been taking to finish estates and how the focus can seem to move on when much of an estate has been sold. One issue that is regularly raised is about drainage for open spaces, play areas or individual homes. I have seen blocked drains, as well as standing water significant enough to reach front doors and threaten to flood individual properties, which is very worrying for residents.” 

On problems with individual properties, he said: 

“Issues raised with me range from totally inadequate guttering to very patchy fitting of insulation, from window panes separating from their frames to poorly fitted bannisters, and from walls having to be rebuilt to bathrooms having to be taken out and replacements fitted. That is just a snapshot because the list is long.” 

He said he had been dealing with housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey, Avant Homes and Harron Homes. 

Last April, he met representatives of Barratt Homes to discuss concerns raised by residents of the Hay-a-Park Barratt development in Knaresborough – the building of which finished many years ago. 

In the debate, Mr Jones spoke of the the need for housebuilders to be more proactive in their communication and keep householders informed. He said: 

“I have raised this point with housebuilders and, in all cases, they have recognised that there have been communication problems—no one has attempted to deny it—and, indeed, they have sought to correct them.” 

Mr Jones rounded off his speech by asking for an update on the government’s work on future homes and building standards. 

In response, Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that more needed to be done to address homebuyers’ concerns where standards had fallen short. He said: 

“We have been taking action to ensure that happens: reforming building control as part of the biggest changes to the construction sector in a generation; and strengthening warranties to give homebuyers greater protection.” 

He also spoke about the government’s work on construction skills, energy efficiency and the new homes ombudsman. He added: 

“Ultimately, it is private developers, not the state, that hold the key to raising standards. Only by local and central Government working together with developers can we ensure that new homes being built in Yorkshire and across the country are safe, decent, warm and finished to a high standard, and that buyers in my hon. Friend’s constituency and elsewhere are treated fairly.”

But the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate, Tom Gordon, laid into that the government’s record on regulating developers. He told the Stray Ferret:

“After 14 years in Government it is clear that the Conservatives have failed to stop dodgy developers and the pain they inflict on new homeowners.
“The Conservative-run council have consistently dropped the ball on planning matters, including failing to produce a local plan in a timely fashion, which led to a free-for-all for developers.
“This isn’t a new issue. The Conservatives have let developers get away with this time and time again, if they haven’t fixed this in 14 years then how can residents trust their words now?
“Liberal Democrat MPs have led debates on this Parliament and tabled amendments to the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill that would strengthen the law to protect people against dodgy developers. If the Conservatives and Government were serious about this they would take the chance to strengthen the law now.”

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