Bellway says sorry as £300k new-build like 'living in swamp'

Paddy Harper in his boggy garden -Credit:EdinburghLive
Paddy Harper in his boggy garden -Credit:EdinburghLive

A couple say they are living in a 'swamp' after their dream £300,000 new-build home was plagued by drainage issues. Paddy Harper, 30, was over the moon when he and his girlfriend finally moved into their new Bellway home in August 2022 after the development was hit by delays.

But, during their first winter at the house, the couple's back garden was flooded. Paddy said water streamed down a hill from farmland to the rear of the property.

The couple have been battling flooding and mud ever since. They have called on Bellway to fix the issue, reports Edinburgh Live.

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Paddy said: “When we first moved in there were always patchy bits and mud and it seemed to get wetter and wetter whenever it rained. The build up was constant and we raised the issue but they just blamed us.

"None of the gardens on our street look particularly great but it seems as though our garden and our neighbour's garden are particularly impacted by flooding. Bellway sent out someone to assess the damage but the contractor claimed that the issue was caused by us not raking our leaves.

“When we try to rake the leaves we end up taking up the grass due to how wet it is. In October/November 2022 we had a full on flood through our garden and next door’s.

"Water was flowing down like a river from the back fields and past our house. Basically they haven’t taken good enough measures to deal with the drainage at the back of the estate."

Paddy continued: "The gardens haven’t been properly rotivated but more worrying than that, extreme amounts of water build up on the other side of our back fence. This then spreads to our garden which basically has rendered it unusable since we moved in. They have promised works to fix the issue but have repeatedly made excuses for it not being done. They seem to have just moved onto other sites where they can make more money and have left us to suffer in a swamp.

“It’s a full on flood. They didn’t take into account that everything on the back row of the estate slopes towards the back right of our garden. They dug a couple of trenches but didn’t actually install drainage so those trenches just filled with water whenever it rained. That is now running across our garden and approaching our house. They told us the trenches would be extended and an actual drainage pipe installed to lead the water away but that was two months ago and nobody has been to the site since.

“Bellway has been absolutely shocking. They’ve made so many excuses, even blaming the poor weather for not being able to come out to fix the issue, but the poor weather doesn’t seem to stop them from building more houses and cashing in. We have paid over £300,000 for a swamp. It feels like they have just taken our money and now washed their hands of us.”

Paddy says that there can be several inches of water built up in his back garden due to the flooding problem. He invited an engineer out to his home to assess the issue and claims they found a serious flood risk coming from the higher ground behind his home. The homeowner said they looked into selling their home as they had become fed up. However, they are essentially trapped by rising mortgage rates and the fact they would struggle to sell the home until the drainage issues are rectified.

“The experience should have been filled with excitement but the shine has been completely removed. We cannot get out and enjoy our garden, in the height of summer if you try to put a chair down it just sinks into the ground. We can’t let our pets out there either as everything just gets churned up. We feel like we are trapped in our own home as it is a swamp back there. We have not been able to have a housewarming party as no one can go into the back garden. Whenever we have tried to ask for help the attitude from Bellway has been shocking. We paid them for this house and they treat us like a nuisance if we raise an issue.

“They claim they are a five star builder but they have treated us like scum. If they showed remorse and got the problem fixed then we would be more understanding. We will never buy a new build again and I warn my friends and colleagues not to do so either. The whole experience has been a nightmare.”

A Bellway spokesperson apologised for the ordeal and said they will take action to rectify the issue as soon as possible.

They said: "The UK has been facing extremely high rainfall this winter and spring. The flooding has occurred due to the property backing on to fields, where excess rainfall is running off the fields into the garden of the property.

"A drainage ditch has been dug to stop this happening (see attached). It was always our intention to tie this ditch into a positive drainage system to avoid it filling up and having the potential to overspill down the hill. Unfortunately, however due to excessive wet weather we have been unable to complete these works over the last few months. It is our intention to complete this as soon as we get a break in the weather and conditions dry up suitably for us to do so. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to the homeowner but this will be resolved as soon as possible."

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