Anger over paintwork at St Albans flats

Valerie Hargrave with a fence which has been propped back up again by the council after falling

Valerie Hargrave with a fence which has been propped back up again by the council after falling - Credit: Archant

Leaseholders of former council flats, half of which are now privately owned, face a bill for the painting of their properties which they did not want carried out.

In the meantime their calls for repairs to be made to a fence and gate around the block have fallen on deaf ears.

Valerie Hargrave, who bought the lease of her flat 10 years ago, said tenants and owners were notified in early July that the council would be carrying out some painting work on the flats.

She said: “They did it three years ago and the work was so shoddy but they say this is in the lease agreement.”

No-one turned up on the day the work was due to start but several days later a painter turned up complete with ladders – but he was unable to speak English.

Valerie said he started to paint over the woodwork with no preparation so she called the site manager to tell him the paint was flaking and needed rubbing down first. “He had to show him how to rub it down. Then it was painted all over with just one coat.”

In the meantime, Valerie went on, she had been chasing the council since gales blew down a fence and a gate around the flats. She said: “We have had to put string around them. I told the council but they said they were not fixing gates at the moment.”

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She said she was concerned that as the 6ft fence was currently propped up with wooden poles, it could pose a threat to anyone walking past if it came down.

St Albans council’s head of housing, Karen Dragovic, said external decoration of its properties was carried out on a five year cyclical programme and leaseholders kept informed of progress through a consultation process.

They were notified of proposed works by letter and had 30 days to comment if they wished. They were also invited to residents’ meetings before the work took place: “The decoration of the common parts of this freehold block of flats at Keswick Close is the Council’s obligation under the terms of the lease. We inspected the paintwork that has been done and are satisfied with the finish and standard of workmanship.

“We also carried out repairs to the communal gate and fence at the property after they blew down in high winds in October 2013. We recently received a report that the gate needs adjusting and have scheduled this work to be carried out in the next 30 working days.”