A 13-storey block of flats hailed a jewel in Bedford’s crown when it opened six years ago is today a “health hazard” that is only fit for demolition, tenants claim.
The £10m development is plagued with mould, wobbly windows and walls cracking so badly that the electrics are exposed, say residents.
“The whole place is an eyesore and a health hazard. It should be demolished and rebuilt from scratch,” said tenant Chanel Maddix.
The mum-of -two added: “The lifts break down several times a week and there are also huge problems with the boiler. We’ve all had no hot water since last week.”
The Heights, formerly the old BT tower in St John’s Street, was hailed as hugely successful regeneration project when it was unveiled by developers Birmingham Properties Group in 2011.
Some of the 109 flats were sold as luxury “penthouse” apartments, while others were rented privately or used for social housing. Chanel, 26, was one of the first to move in.
“I was placed there by the council, so I had no choice. But even then it was riddled with problems,” she said.
“The lifts were continuously breaking. I was pregnant and struggling to carry shopping, a toddler and a buggy up all those flights of stairs .”
Within a year the prestigious scheme was showing other cracks - literally.
“It started with hairline cracks on the internal walls. They got bigger and bigger and turned into holes so big that you can see the electrical wiring,” said Chanel.
“My walls are also covered in mould and the windows don’t fit. My neighbour’s window actually fell out and she had to stick it back in with duct tape for a year before anyone repaired it,” she claimed.
Chanel’s landlords are Genesis housing association, who own 51 of the flats.
A spokesman for Genesis said they were liaising with The Heights’ managing agent, Mainstay, about the “historic” boiler issues and promised to carry out a full system overhaul.
The spokesman blamed the lift breakdowns on “repeated vandalism”.