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Is Golding Homes hiding behind coronavirus on various health and safety issues?

Friday 22nd May 2020

A HOUSING provider has been accused of “hiding behind coronavirus” on various health and safety issues across Shepway.

Brad Simpson, of Northumberland Court, currently lives in a two bedroom flat with his mother Hazel (71).

He says Golding Homes has refused to fix a cold draught coming through a gap in the wall that sits next to a plug and gas pipe, as it is not considered an “emergency repair”.

Hazel, who has lived in Maidstone for more than 40 years, says the problem is starting to make her feel ill.

She told Daily Downs Mail: “I am 71 years old, it is so cold that I can still feel the cold air from my bedroom. I feel like a prisoner and like most people, I have been stuck here for over two months.

“It is unbearable and a pain in the neck. Nobody wants to know and everyone we speak to passes us on to the next person to deal with.”

Councillor Eddie Powell said: “It is a very horrible situation for Brad and his family. Golding Homes have made so many excuses as to why they can’t come out, but this is a serious health and safety issue. For starters, there is a gas pipe right next to a plug which should not be there.”

Another Shepway estate has reported similar communication problems with the housing company.

Peter Hunt, a resident at Greenborough Close said (pictured): “The main issue is the fact management charges have gone up by 30%, yet everyone who lives here are pensioners. The cleaning in the communal areas is standard at best and has not changed, so why are we having to pay more?

"A lot of people here cannot afford that. A two person crew come with a broom and make a curtesy wipe before leaving most of the time.

“The garages are disgusting and unsafe, there’s just constant excuses from Golding Homes as to why repairs cannot be carried out, even when they are a matter of health and safety.”

“When I first moved in, I really loved it here. The site was originally built for individuals in need of care, the homes were centred around a lovely day centre too. Now they just don’t want to know. I’m disgusted.”

Cllr Powell added: “It’s a real shame and I think Golding Homes’ approach has been very unfair to say the least. I think people feel extremely let down by them in a time of crisis.”

Following Downs Mail’s enquiries, Interim Chief Executive of Golding Homes, Sue Chalkley said: “We remain in close contact with residents at Greenborough Close and have been making regular welfare calls to check in with them during this challenging time.

“We are sorry to hear they are unhappy, but in line with government guidelines it has been necessary to reduce our services to essential only during the Covid-19 lockdown period to keep both customers and our colleagues safe.

“This has meant a temporary reduction in cleaning and caretaking duties and only essential repairs taking place. As we move out of lockdown we will be following the guidance and increasing services over the coming weeks where it is safe to do so, this will include communal and external repairs.

“The repair reported by Mr Simpson last week relates to an air vent in a kitchen cupboard and some expanding foam which has come away.

“We have advised him that this isn’t an essential repair so cannot be completed at present, but we will attend as soon as it is safe to do so. The resident has not raised any health and safety concerns with us and their home has a valid gas safety check.”