Anger after Colburn homeowners left with £790 bill to fill cladding gaps

Homeowners in Colburn have been told they will need to pay almost £800 to fill gaps left after their homes were fitted with external cladding.

The cladding was fitted to council homes and offered free to private households in 2013 as part of the Green Deal initiative.

Richmondshire District Council said the scheme was managed nationally by a national insulation provider, who subcontracted the work out to other companies, and this was regionally managed via the Yorkshire Energy Partnership (YEP) based in York.

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The council worked with the YEP and contractors to identify properties which could benefit from the scheme.

However, gaps in the cladding were left because of electric power cables fixed to external walls which Northern Powergrid said could not be covered by the insulation material.

The council said it approached Northern Powergrid to have them removed at that time, but officers were told that was not possible so the work was done around them.

At a later date Northern Powergrid removed these cables with no charge but by then it was too late to get anyone back to fill the gaps for several reasons. These were:

  • Green Deal initiative was unexpectedly withdrawn so funding ceased
  • The national provider  responsible went into liquidation
  • The contractors were not getting paid and ceased work, with many subsequently ceasing to exist
  • The Yorkshire Energy Partnership ceased to exist

Richmondshire District Council is now planning to infill the gaps at its properties and the authority said it had negotiated the best price possible for that work.

It has also negotiated the same price for people who own their own properties to have this work done by the same company.

However, a spokesman added: “They do not have to take advantage of the offer and can look for other companies for alternative prices, or do nothing at all.

“The council did not pay for the original work to be done – this was made possible through a national scheme – it does not pay for work to be undertaken at a private property, this is the responsibility of the owner.”

The situation has angered home owners who have been told it will cost £790 to have the gaps filled in.

Home owner Stuart Pharoah has been trying to get the situation resolved since 2013.

He said: “I have written to the local council, Ofgen, the Prime Minister, the local MP, the insurance company, Hambletons the sub contractor- but all say that they are not responsible.

“This has made homes almost unsaleable.”

Another resident said: “We were originally told they would come back and cover the gaps when the electrical cables had been removed.

“They have been removed and are now being asked to pay for it. I think it is very unfair as it was all done on the same scheme.”