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Newmarket flat residents left in the dark about safety work reasons

Residents in a block of Newmarket flats claim they are being kept in the dark about the reason for extensive safety improvements at their homes.

Scaffolding has engulfed two Flagship Homes properties in George Lambton Avenue, with contractors for the company cutting out bricks from the outside walls of the three storey buildings.

The reason why work has started is a mystery, residents have said, and tenants have only been told the six-week project was ‘maintenance work’.

Flats in George Lambton Avenue
Flats in George Lambton Avenue

Bleu Smith, 30, said she had asked Flagship to go into more detail but the social housing company had refused.The concerned mum-of-two said: “If it was something not to worry about I would believe they would give us a straight answer. The fact they are not makes us concerned.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s frustrating we don’t get information about what they are doing.”

Flats in George Lambton Avenue
Flats in George Lambton Avenue

The 25 year old added: “They are giving us vague answers to what they are doing. Which is why it’s so worrying. If it was not major it wouldn’t worry us, but they have no reason to hide what’s been done.”

The block, which won planning permission in 2004, is of the same design as a block which has been empty after a fire in 2017.

The blaze, which led to 23 people being made homeless, is thought to have started in the brickwork between the exterior and interior walls of the flats.

A housing association spokesman told the Journal: “We are carrying out improvement works on cavity walls – to do so it requires us to remove the exterior brick work and have access to the roof space.

“The work is being carried out as part of a wider programme to ensure our customers continue to benefit from advanced safety precautions.”

But when asked if the works were to address any fireproofing concerns raised by the investigation into the 2017 fire, the spokesman refused to answer.

“As a housing provider, our purpose is to provide homes for people in need. It is important that we continue to enhance the standards of our homes to ensure the safety of our customers,” he said.

The fire-damaged flats are still empty and Flagship said it was ‘subject to an ongoing insurance negotiation’.

“We would like to reassure customers their homes are safe to live in, and all the necessary risk assessments have been carried out,” the spokesman said.