Residents claim value of homes has fallen up to £30,000 after units were sold for social housing
Bellway is facing more lawsuits from customers who are angry that it sold homes on luxury developments to housing associations.
Last month residents of the Chase scheme in Hampshire threatened to sue the housebuilder when it sold 20 homes for social housing. Now buyers in The Heathers in Swindon and Pencarn Village near Newport are consulting solicitors.
Both groups claim they had written assurances from Bellway before they bought that there would be no social housing on the sites, apart from one home at Pencarn. They may demand compensation for a decline in the value of their homes.
Bellway sold 12 houses at The Heathers to Raglan Housing Association in February. One resident, who obtained a copy of the documentation, said Bellway had paid to lift a covenant that would have stopped the units being used as social housing.
The resident is one of a group of up to 50 beginning legal action. He said estate agents estimated that the value of their homes could have dropped by as much as £30,000. He said: “Almost the first thing we were told was that there would be no affordable housing on that site.”
In Pencarn Village, Bellway has struck a deal with Fairlake Properties to provide affordable housing.
The first thing we were told was there would be no social housing on that site
Resident, The Heathers
Allan Morris, a homeowner in the development, said a group of more than 30 residents had been in touch with solicitors. He said: “Bellway’s major selling point was there would be no social housing here apart from one specially adapted for disabled people. It said on the receipt clearly: only one social house.”
He added: “Our argument is not with social housing people – I was bought up in one myself – it is the way Bellway has gone about this and devalued people’s houses.”
Both groups of residents have contacted their MPs, Paul Flynn and Michael Wills.
Julian Kenyon, corporate affairs manager for Bellway, said: “We have not done anything incorrect in introducing affordable housing into those sites. Bellway is not aware of providing written assurances that it would not do so.”
He confirmed that Bellway had paid to have a restrictive covenant lifted.
More on the Chase case at www.building.co.uk/archive