Couple left living in deserted housing estate for more than three years after developers go bust

·3-min read
The unfinished estate in Chatham, Kent. (SWNS)
The unfinished estate in Chatham, Kent. (SWNS)

A couple has been left living in a deserted and derelict housing estate for more than three years after its developers went bust.

Mark and Lucia Phillips moved from London to their £485,000 new-build home on the housing estate, called The Hamiltons, in Chatham, Kent in 2018.

But developers AMG Chatham Ltd went into administration a year later, leaving the housing estate unfinished and abandoned.

The former civil servants then had to spend £30,000 of their own money to repair their property.

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Mark mowed the whole estate himself as grass and weeds began to become overgrown.

The couple said they also put up new fences and bought their own industrial outside light to stop drug addicts from gathering near their home.

The estate has since then been left to look like a building site, with materials, sheeting and bricks left strewn across the ground.

Mark Phillips overlooking the estate in Chatham, Kent. (SWNS)
Mark Phillips overlooking the estate in Chatham. (SWNS)

In autumn 2019, Lucia said the developers' administrators Smith & Williamson tore down their roof and balcony without permission when they were both away for work as they did the same to other empty houses on the estate.

She said: “They kept saying they were finishing the estate. My thing was I didn’t want to be living on a building site.

“We were in America for a month and came back to find our house looking like these damaged balconies and decking.

“They claimed they had found defects. What you’re seeing on our roof now is the result of us putting right what the administrators took off.

“They said they were doing it to the whole estate, but they didn’t seek permission. They just did it while we were away.

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"All the terraces were stripped down. We thought that was a bit cheeky but we were hopeful that everything was going to be put back.

“They even threw our furniture onto the neighbour’s roof.”

At one point, a health and safety inspector who visited the site last October, slipped off the edge of the steep drive entrance as she drove away from the estate, causing minor damage.

A metal barrier was put in place as a result that prevents any potential repeat of the incident.

Following the visit, inspectors said the site was unsafe and un-secure, erected scaffolding and told the couple to make their roof safe.

The couple had to pay contractors to repair the balustrades on the balcony and return the roof to its original state.

Lucia, 57, said she almost felt suicidal as their home still needs repairs and continues to leak - especially when the health and safety executive deemed the site unsafe.

A couple have been left living on a deserted housing estate for the last three-and-a-half years (SNWS)
The housing estate has been deserted for the last 3.5 years (SNWS)

Mark, 60, was also losing sleep over their home, waking in the night whenever it rained to check for leaks or climb onto the roof to fasten plastic sheeting during storms.

After threatening to sue, they've now recovered the £30,000 they spent on repairs.

The luxury estate has views stretching out across the Medway towns of Chatham and Rochester and beyond from its hilltop vantage point.

Last month, it was sold to new owners at auction for £2,357,000, more than double its initial guide price of £1.1 million.

Although AMG Chatham Ltd is no longer in existence, the website of a company called AMG Consortium Ltd lists The Hamiltons as one of its projects.

Smith & Williamson have been approached for more information.

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