Fury as contractors down tools leaving work Harrogate street half finished

NADV 1404083AM3 Cosyseal insulation work. Kirkham Road residents Tracey Worsnop her daughter Nicol and neighbour Alison Wood. (1404083AM3)

NADV 1404083AM3 Cosyseal insulation work. Kirkham Road residents Tracey Worsnop her daughter Nicol and neighbour Alison Wood. (1404083AM3)


Harrogate house-owners have been left furious after contractors downed tools, leaving their homes exposed to the elements.

Residents of Kirkham Road and Dene Park in the Woodfields area signed up for a scheme backed by Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and the Yorkshire Energy Partnership for free insulation for their houses.

However, part way through the work contractors from insulation firm Astley were instructed to stop work by insulation firm Cosyseal who say grant funding was cut. Six privately owned homes and 32 council flats were lefthalf finished.

Now Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones is demanding answers on behalf of the householders.

Tracey Worsnop, 43, said: “It’s awful, it’s just a mess, half the house is not finished. It is going to take a lot of money to repair the damage.”

Ms Worsnop lives at home with her 20-year-old daughter Nicole, and is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. She said: “The doctor says I have to avoid stress but I can’t this is very stressful. I came back from an appointment and all the work had stopped.”

The work to insulate the homes with cladding is part of the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.

Tracey’s neighbour Liz Robinson, 60, said: “All they have done is knock the house about to make a start and then they’ve gone. I am in shock looking at how it has been left.”

Her daughter-in-law Lindsay Robinson said: “Some of the houses are half done, they look a right mess.

“The workers just downed tools, most people got home from work to see half finished work. Everyone is just passing the buck now.”

Alison Wood, 52, lives on Kirkham Road. She said: “I think it is awful, we waited for months of delays and the scaffolding has been up for four weeks.

“I am scared to park the car on the drive in case part of the house just blows off and damages it.”

Ms Worsnop said Mr Jones has been chasing the firms involved on their behalf.

She said: “It is all right for the flats on Dene Park, they are council owned, but what about us, the people who own their homes?”

Steve Mcgowen, managing director of Astley said the firm was owed money from Cosyseal: “We are building contractors and we are stuck in the middle. We get instructions to do things, then we have been told to stop. It’s an absolute disaster.”

He said: “It is a worry, I have got money owed and 500 jobs to try and save.

“We are going above and beyond to try to get the funding from the utility companies to get this sorted.”

Mr Jones said: “Cosyseal’s contractors say they have it in writing that they were told to continue with works to properties after March 25.

“But then contractors tell me that they were told by Cosyseal this information was incorrect.

“By this time they had already started work on a number of properties for which they would not be paid. They therefore stopped work.

“The householders are the important people in all of this. I want Cosyseal to tell me how they intend to make good the damage that has been caused to these properties and finish the job.

“The residents should not be in a worse position because someone else has made a mistake.”

Cosyseal say funding from utility companies has drastically reduced following a recent government policy review.

Paul Gaffney, managing director of Cosyseal has blamed a lack of clarity over funding changes for the hold up.

He said: “We have honourable intentions to complete the work but until the Government clarify their funding position we can’t.

“Only when they do we will be able to move forward. It could be two weeks, three weeks, four weeks. We are still in limbo.”

Residents signed up for the scheme after recieveing letters from HBC encouraging them to do so.

A spokesperson for HBC said: “In mid-March this year, the energy companies significantly reduced the level of funding that they were investing into external wall insulation meaning that scheme had to be closed earlier than anticipated.

“This appears to have been in response to proposed changes to ECO currently being considered by parliament which, although not yet finalised, has had an effect from 1st April 2014.

“Work on 192 public sector properties on Dene Park have been completed, while 32 public sector flats have been partially completed, and work on 32 public sector flats has not been started.

“We also know that six private homes have work which is partially completed, and we are keeping closely informed of the situation at these properties.

“HBC is doing all it can to resolve the situation. The council is currently in discussions with the contractor, sub-contractor, YEP and ECO funders to determine if additional funding can be found to complete the work. We will be able to give an update regarding the funding situation within the next few days.”




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