Father who spent his life savings on dream home says the estate looks like a scene from Aleppo’


A dad who spent his life savings on his dream home claims the new-build estate it stands on looks ‘like a scene out of Aleppo’ after the house was dogged with problems.

Mark, who would only give his first name, lives in Heathlands, a four-year-old housing estate built by Linden Homes in Frimley, Surrey.

He claims the estate is a ‘dangerous dump’ with exposed electricity cables and rubble blocking the drains.

Mark and other residents claim the four-year-old housing estate built by Linden Homes in Frimley, Surrey has been dogged with problem from day one 

Mark bought a four-bedroom house on the estate, off Old Bisley Road, in November 2019, and lives there with his young family.

But he says he was ‘promised a lot more than I got’.

A self-employed carpet cleaner, Mark used everything he had in savings to purchase the £700,000 new-build that he originally ‘fell in love with’.

Some of the issues on the estate were apparent from day one, but according to Mark the Linden Homes sales team said they would be rectified.

Nearly a year later, new issues have arisen and the old ones haven’t been fixed – despite Mark paying a service charge of £600 a year to the management company.

Mark said other estate residents have been grappling with similar issues for the three years prior to his arrival.

Crumbling walls are just one of the many problems that have arisen since the Heathlands estate was erected

Crumbling walls are just one of the many problems that have arisen since the Heathlands estate was erected

From blocked drains and a strong stench of sewage, to crumbling walls and protruding cables in the communal areas, Mark said life in the brand new development turned into a nightmare.

Mark, 41, said: ‘None of us have a problem paying the service charge. But at the moment we are paying the money and half the development is a dump, and it’s a dangerous dump at that.’

The Linden Homes development launched in 2016.

A brochure advertising the estate tells prospective buyers that ‘Heathlands is a delightful place to live’, with ‘extensive landscaped communal grounds’ including ‘the restored original sunken garden’.

But Mark soon found out this would not be his reality.Mark said: ‘The drains are an ongoing problem. We don’t feel the sewage and drainage on the site is up to the job of dealing with 101 properties.

Mark says the estate is a 'dangerous dump' with exposed electricity cables and rubble blocking the drains

Mark says the estate is a ‘dangerous dump’ with exposed electricity cables and rubble blocking the drains

‘There is a constant issue with blocked drains. All the drains are full of builders’ concrete and rubble. They are full to the brim of dirt and mud. There are things growing out of them.

Once a week there is a sewage ‘stink’ in Mark’s house, namely the en-suite bathroom.

Mark added that the blocked drains contributed to his neighbour’s garage flooding in recent days.

In April 2018, fellow resident Mark Buller was dealing with the stench of sewage at his Heathlands home due to a pump station sitting directly underneath his garden.

Mr Buller said at the time: ‘My concern is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sell it. I would have to be fully transparent.

‘Out the back at the weekend I couldn’t even let the kids out it was so bad. The moment the sun comes out the worse it gets.’

Pitfalls: There is rubble and dirt almost everywhere close to where the children play

Pitfalls: There is rubble and dirt almost everywhere close to where the children play

A red light, which neighbours have coined the ‘poo light’, was installed outside the property.

When it flashes, it is supposed to alert contractors that there is a blockage that needs attention.

But the problems don’t stop there. There are exposed cables, crumbling pillars and cracking walls.

Mark claims Linden Homes have ignored complaints from residents for years, to the extent that he is now concerned for his family’s and his neighbours’ safety.

He says there are collapsed walls ‘all over the place’, particularly in the sunken garden.

Mark said: ‘We are concerned there are two and three-year-old kids, if any of those boulders fall it is going to injure. So we just stop going there.

‘It is overgrown with weeds, there are trip hazards on the steps. We were promised beautiful landscaped gardens.

There are major concerns over protruding cables which Mark says he 'hopes' aren't electric

There are major concerns over protruding cables which Mark says he ‘hopes’ aren’t electric

‘When we viewed the property there is a sunken garden in the middle of the estate which was absolutely lovely. And it looks like a scene out of Aleppo right now.’

There are also concerns over protruding cables at the estate which Mark says he ‘hopes’ aren’t electric.

Mark said: ‘At the entrance of the estate you have a demised pillar and demised brick wall. There are big chunks missing and stress cracks going through it. It looks terrible.

‘All the other estate new builds you go to it is almost palatial. You drive into ours and the walls are collapsing, pillars are collapsing,’ he said.

Despite the situation, Mark says he can’t plan to move his family elsewhere because of the expense.

Mark said: ‘I have put everything that I have into this property; my life savings. I owned a second property in Southampton and had to sell that to buy this.

‘My pension, everything, I put into buying this house. So the option of moving and paying another lot of legal fees and stamp duty, it is not on the cards.

‘All my focus is getting the estate safe and finished.’

A Linden Homes spokesperson said they are aware of outstanding issues at the location and are working with contractors to solve them

A Linden Homes spokesperson said they are aware of outstanding issues at the location and are working with contractors to solve them

Around 70 Heathlands residents have joined a self-made action group in the hope of tackling the problems.

A Linden Homes spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of outstanding issues at the location and are working with our contractors to resolve these as soon as possible.

‘We will continue to provide our residents with regular updates and apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

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