Couple speak of new-build woes as Kingsbury Gardens home brings 'nothing but issues'

Matt Eden and Nicola Norton with their daughter, Ellie

Matt Eden and Nicola Norton with their daughter, Ellie - Credit: Matt Eden

Moving into a new build over an older property, you would think as everything was sparkling new, there would be no glaring issues with the house. But that was far from reality for one St Albans couple.

Young couple Matt Eden and Nicola Norton moved into their new home in Kingsbury Gardens in May 2019, and have faced "nothing but issues since".

Kingsbury Gardens under construction from Hatfield Road

Kingsbury Gardens under construction from Hatfield Road - Credit: Google Maps

"There are probably people who have bought worse houses... but our frustration has just bowled us over," Matt said of their uphill struggle to remedy the multitude of problems plaguing their home.

The couple had been warned of buying a new build, and were aware there may be a few snags here and there, but they "didn't quite realise the extent of the problems or how poor the quality of the build is."

Originally marketed as a Charles Church property, they didn't believe there was any cause for concern after hearing glowing reviews about them. But little did they know, Persimmon - a company they had tried to avoid - were the builders behind their home all along.

"Had we maybe done a bit more research and realised actually it was Persimmon behind it, we probably wouldn't have bought it," Nicola said.

"It's like Tesco putting a Coca Cola label on their own-brand coke. That's exactly how we feel, that they stuck a Charles Church label on a Persimmon build. It's Persimmon quality, Persimmon standard, Persimmon workmanship. It's not the dream home that they're selling."

skirting boards

In an Instagram post, Nicola said of their Kingsbury Gardens home: "Just another picture of the finish on our skirting and door frames. Zero attention to detail throughout the entire house." - Credit: Nicola Norton

Most Read

The couple welcomed their daughter, Ellie, in March 2020, and had hoped that the majority of issues would be resolved before she came along. But even now, 20 months after their original move-in date, Matt explained that passing the buck and lack of taking ownership has stopped resolutions materialising. 

"They're very good with delay tactics, they've got every trick in the trade going to not do anything, or not repair anything. They're very clever at what they do."

Nicola added: "They just don't take any ownership of the problems.

"We don't care whose fault it is, we just want to get stuff fixed."

And it's not superficial and surfaced-deep issues Nicola and Matt have been facing since moving into their Kingsbury Gardens home.

"There are a lot of cosmetic [issues], but for us, the main stuff is structural: not being able to use your shower, not being able to use your washing machine. They just really don't care. 

"Someone had fitted the washing machine in this house, and the kitchen [cabinet] door on it, and known that they've not plugged it in, and just not done anything about it, because they've not put an electric socket on the wall."

Matt added: "When we went to do our first wash, we put a load in, went to turn it on and thought 'Why is this not working?', and then we realised they'd forgotten to put the plug socket in!"

"Me and Nicola didn't realise how bad the floorboards are. When Nicola's downstairs and I'm upstairs, she thinks that I'm going to come through the floor! I've put on a bit of weight during COVID but not that much..! There are a load of things you only know about once you've bought.

"All we want is for them to come and fix the issues that really, we feel they are obliged to fix. It's just been very frustrating."

He added: "We really tried to give them deadlines to get things fixed, because we didn't want the disruption for when Ellie was born. And since she was born, there's been the ongoing disruption to life. It's very frustrating.

Joking about the work-home balance that comes with the ongoing pandemic and that it's hard to get a 10 month old to sleep anyway, according to Matt and Nicola, the poor quality of the doors in their home mean that the lightest sounds wake their daughter up, and has a real impact on not just their personal but professional lives, too.

Documenting their woes on their Instagram page, Nicola's posting has gathered a following of people facing similar strife. Matt said:  "They feel the same and are going through exactly the same problems.

Kingsbury Gardens drainage

Sharing a picture of the house's drainage after a spot of rain, Nicola voiced her frustrations after a green build-up appeared on her driveway, as excess water had nowhere to be redirected to - Credit: Nicola Norton

"There are a lot of new build developments going on, I think that it's something that needs to be looked at to improve other people's experiences in future."

A spokesperson from Persimmon Homes Essex said: “We apologise unreservedly to Ms Norton and will ensure that any remaining concerns are addressed as quickly as possible.

"We have had a number of discussions with Ms Norton and have appointments already booked in to address them. We will continue to work closely with Ms Norton to reach a satisfactory conclusion.”

After being notified of Persimmon's response, Matt explained that there are in excess of 40 issues that he and Nicola have been chasing Persimmon to fix, and have resorted to sorting various other snags themselves: "Out of those 40 issues they currently have an appointment booked in to look at just one of them.

"There have been various investigations for a few other items - carpet, flooring, et cetera - but these have been going on for 20 months with no resolution in sight."

For more pictures of Matt and Nicola's home, visit @charleschurch_leicesterlink on Instagram.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter