New hope for fire-hit Felmores residents in Pitsea

Basildon Recorder: Paul Dongworth outside his Winstree home Paul Dongworth outside his Winstree home

BELEAGUERED residents who have been priced out of essential safety works on a fire-plagued estate may be offered a reprieve.

Last month, the Echo revealed hundreds of residents who own their properties on the Felmores estate, in Pitsea, have been given hefty bills for cement cladding to replace timber frames on the houses.

The work was recommended by Essex Fire Service after a blaze in Bockingham Green ripped through seven houses, leading to questions about whether the homes were safe.

But housing bosses met local councillors for talks to resolve the problem, and now the authority is looking at offering residents other safety measures.

This could include installing horizontal beams in homes to prevent the spread of fire, which is another of the fire service’s recommendations.

Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, met housing officials to discuss a solution to the issue.

He said: “I don’t know how Basildon Council expected private homeowners to pay just under £30,000 for the work, but hopefully we can install some of the recommendations.

“We’re going to look at this in more detail and hopefully offer a cheaper option for private homeowners on the estate.”

Mr Callaghan also claims there is cash available to re-surface all 13 of the estate’s car parks. This would cost about £100,000 for each car park, he claims.

The beams should be installed on the ceiling of each floor of each property, fire bosses argue.

The cladding work, which will cost the council about £6million, began in October, after months of delays.

But private homeowners, saddled with a huge bill for the work, have hit out at the latest proposals.

Paul Dongworth, 62, of Winstree, faced a bill of £192 a month. He said: “It’s been a complete fiasco. If the council is looking at different measures, that shows it doesn’t have a clue.

“It should just install fire alarms in each home and that would have saved lots of money.”

Comments (4)

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10:35am Tue 25 Feb 14

I-say-you-say says...

And how would "just installing fire alarms" help with the spread of the fire?

It would cost a lot more than £192 a month if your property went up in flames because these works weren't done and I bet you'd be the first to moan at the council that they hadn't done the works causing you to lose your property.

I'm sorry, but I think this is a reasonable price on the safety for my property, myself and my family.
And how would "just installing fire alarms" help with the spread of the fire? It would cost a lot more than £192 a month if your property went up in flames because these works weren't done and I bet you'd be the first to moan at the council that they hadn't done the works causing you to lose your property. I'm sorry, but I think this is a reasonable price on the safety for my property, myself and my family. I-say-you-say
  • Score: 0

10:57am Tue 25 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

Compulsorily purchase the owner occupied placez and flatten the whold estate and rebuild it.

It's been done with the old Siporex Estate and is happening over at Craylands so why not Regenerate (to use one of the Council's favourite words ) this estate too and provide Safe Decent and thermally/energy efficient housing for the future. They could also manage to get a few more housing units in the same footprint with intelligent and efficient planning.....
Compulsorily purchase the owner occupied placez and flatten the whold estate and rebuild it. It's been done with the old Siporex Estate and is happening over at Craylands so why not Regenerate (to use one of the Council's favourite words ) this estate too and provide Safe Decent and thermally/energy efficient housing for the future. They could also manage to get a few more housing units in the same footprint with intelligent and efficient planning..... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

12:45am Wed 26 Feb 14

Kim Gandy says...

"Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, met housing officials to discuss a solution to the issue."

Should this not read: "Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, took valuable time out from his 24 hour Twitterthon during which he made several bogus claims about members of the public and opposition councillors, to meet housing officials to discuss a solution to the issue.
"Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, met housing officials to discuss a solution to the issue." Should this not read: "Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, took valuable time out from his 24 hour Twitterthon during which he made several bogus claims about members of the public and opposition councillors, to meet housing officials to discuss a solution to the issue. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -1

9:55am Fri 21 Mar 14

jameskerin says...

Work started in October last year? WRONG

The football court on littlebury green got made into offices for the contractors in January this year. They dumped a few office containers there and then the workers vanished into thin air.

I live opposite it and pass it everyday and i never see anyone there!
Work started in October last year? WRONG The football court on littlebury green got made into offices for the contractors in January this year. They dumped a few office containers there and then the workers vanished into thin air. I live opposite it and pass it everyday and i never see anyone there! jameskerin
  • Score: 1

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