Northern Court ‘shambles’

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Tenants of Northern Court Sheltered Housing met on Friday to share experiences of how refurbishment work to their flats is being carried out.

Tenants said that when work was being done to some flats, flats below had been flooded. The flooded tenants had to move out while their dwellings were dried out with powerful heaters.

They complained about bad communication regarding tenants about getting back to their homes, and workmen leaving keys in doors after a flat was vacated, with private possessions at risk.

It was said that for two nights tenants had no water or heating. Tenants spoke of delays because even though the engineers who came to fix the fault by accessing the complex controls had arrived there was a huge delay until someone appeared with the authority to allow engineers access to controls.

It was noted that council staff present were as helpful as they could be.

Councillor Ian Tait was at the meeting and said: “The performance of this contractor needs to be investigated and my elderly constituents have been very badly treated. None of the council’s sheltered tenants should be subjected to this level of inconvenience and to hear of their going without heat and water in the middle of winter is totally shocking.”

He has emailed the head of housing seeking a full investigation into how a contract to install new kitchens and showers is being delivered in Northern Court.

Martin Coull, chairman of the Tenants’ Group said: “Refurbishment? They’d be better to demolish the building and start afresh.

“We had trouble getting new windows in and when that work got under way some of the new windows were far too small but nobody noticed till the old windows was taken out - just to be put back in.

“Northern Court has been waiting for more than five years for hearing loop system that we offered to pay for but the council refused and now the loop systems are to be fitted to all complexes across the Shire, about 60, over yet another five years.”

For Aberdeenshire Council, Head of Housing Rob Simpson said: “We have fully investigated the concerns raised with us and have identified the causes of the issues experienced by those tenants who were affected.

“We have put measures in place to avoid similar issues happening in the future and to provide reassurance to residents. We regret any inconvenience to tenants and apologise for any distress caused.”