CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Architect Neave Brown of prized Dunboyne Road estate criticises ‘monstrous’ bills

08 March, 2012

Published: 08 March, 2012
by DAN CARRIER

AN estate that has won architectural awards and is held up as one of the country’s finest examples of modern social housing is at the centre of a row over repairs.

The Dunboyne Road estate in Gospel Oak, which has listed status, was designed by award-winning architect Neave Brown in the 1970s for Camden Council and is currently being renovated by the Town Hall.

But residents and tenants – including Mr Brown, who moved into the estate in 2007 – are facing bills of at least £33,000 for work they say has not been properly thought out and may not even be necessary.

Mr Brown, who designed the Alexandra Road and Rowley Way estate in West Hampstead for the council in the 1970s, said he fears lack of maintenance over the past four decades could leave some of his elderly neighbours out of pocket. Those unable to afford the bills, he warned, may be forced to move.

“Older people, who have not had proper involvement in the project, are being sent bills for payments over a short term they simply will not be able to manage,” said Mr Brown.

“This is monstrous – the work itself has not been properly surveyed, costed nor drawn up with the confidence of people living here.”

The works, which are intended to bring homes up to the national “Decent Homes” standard, include replacing flat roofs which builders say are approaching the end of their natural lives.

Yet residents say they do not leak and do not need replacing.

Mr Brown added: “If a car’s guarantee on parts runs out after, say, three years, you don’t then say the car is no longer working and replace everything. This is the attitude they seen to be applying to the roof.”

His neighbour, Jane Wrigley, added: “When I moved here it was clear the estate had not been maintained over the years and this neglect means we are facing bills we simply shouldn’t have to be responsible for.”

A spokesman for Camden Council said: “Following extensive surveying and reports between 2009 and 2011, essential maintenance work was identified. As well as replacing the original 1970s roofing, this estimate covers new double-glazed windows and new outside staircases.

“The amount of £32,000 is an estimate for a range of works needed, and is not a final bill.

“We are continuing to meet and talk to the leaseholders and are responding to their questions and queries. 

“We are also working closely with them to arrange interest-free payment options to help them spread out the costs of this essential work.”

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