Builders fail to fix cracks left by nearby job

Lauren Blowes shows the damage to her flat. Picture: JULIE BULL
Lauren Blowes shows the damage to her flat. Picture: JULIE BULL
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RESIDENTS left “cracking up” after neighbouring building work disturbed the foundations of their tenement are still waiting for repairs two months on.

Cracks began appearing in walls of the block in Great Junction Street, Leith, in January while contractor CCG was carrying out work on a gap site next door.

At the time, Port of Leith Housing Association (POL), which is behind a £4 million housing development on the site, told the Evening News it was “working to address the situation”.

But fed-up residents today said the damage was getting worse and that they were taking legal advice.

Joanna Watson, who has lived in the building for 12 years, said she was unable to put her flat on the market until repairs were carried out.

Ms Watson, 32, a resourcer for a recruitment company, said: “We have been left in a structurally damaged building with no communication or assistance from POL during this very stressful time – which was ultimately caused by them.

“They still have not put in writing that the building is safe and habitable. Despite numerous requests, they have refused to furnish us with any of the engineers’ reports, which were produced over seven weeks ago. They will also not admit any liability – the residents have formed an action group and have been forced to pursue POL. We have now engaged our own lawyer and are paying very high legal fees.”

Restaurant manager Lauren Blowes, 26, who also lives in the tenement, said cracks which first appeared in her living room had now spread throughout the rest of her property.

She said: “POL were very helpful in the beginning, but it now feels like they are playing some sort of blame game with the contractors CCG, who are both saying liability lies with the other. Ideally, we need someone to come forward and take responsibility, preferably before the ceiling collapses in my living room, which it is now threatening to do.”

Ms Blowes, who lives with fiancé Liam McMillan, 28, said the couple no longer felt safe in their own home.

She said: “There’s plaster falling down and you can feel the wind coming through the cracks in the walls. I’ve had to move the entire living room around because I’m afraid something will fall on me while I’m sitting on the couch.”

Another resident, who runs his own business from his ground-floor flat, said the damage was turning potential customers away. The man, who asked not to be named, said: “People are frightened to come in because they see the cracks – numbers are down by between 35-40 per cent.”

Keith Anderson, chief executive at Port of Leith Housing Association, said: “We understand that there is no immediate cause for concern and are working alongside our contractor on our site at Great Junction Street who is investigating matters. As this is a legal matter, Port of Leith Housing Association is not in a position to comment further.”

No-one at CCG was available for comment.