Housing Shock for Hanwell Families

After being told their rentals are illegal and they have to find elsewhere to live


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A group of young families in Hanwell is in shock after discovering the homes they rent are illegal and they will be forced to move out.

The flats, in Broads Foundry, Trumpers Way, have planning permission only as industrial/business units – not as residential. The block concerned, was built by developers Frendcastle. They also constructed over 70 residential properties on the site where the wholesalers Bookers once stood.

One of the mums, who wishes to remain anonymous, rang the council to ask if it were possible to have speed ramps on Trumpers Way, as she was afraid it was too dangerous for her children. “There are big lorries that really speed down the road,” said Maria (not her real name) “they go so fast it’s terrifying”. The council also received a tip off from a concerned member of the public about the block’s unauthorised change of use.

Maria initially rented her flat - £1400 pcm - from an estate agent but almost straightaway was told to pay the rent directly to Frendcastle. This was the same for others I met.

Searching online I found a recent listing for a flat in the block which the estate agent told me was “still available” for rent.

I spent the afternoon with Maria and two other young mums who are seething with anger at the way they have been treated. They had all wanted to stay, but only as long as certain safety issues were addressed. For instance Maria has lived in her home for three years and says she’s not had a single gas safety check. “After what happened at Grenfell Tower it’s really worrying”.

 She may not have had a gas safety check, but says she has had a gas bill – for £9,000.

“The Gas Board won't believe me, when I tell them it's a flat not a factory. `I’m on a business rate. It’s really worrying, I can’t sleep” The homes I visited were all on the first and second floors. Underneath, I saw a surgical instrument company and a car workshop.

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: ''We have served 11 planning enforcement notices at Broads Foundry and the developer has been given 12 months by the Planning Inspectorate to comply. We will be able to check that the unauthorised use of the units has ceased, in line with the inspectorates judgement, next June.”

The notices itemize both a “loss of employment use” and “substandard” residential accommodation”. 

However, the council say they don't have powers to intervene regarding gas safety certificates - that would be a matter for the Health and Safety Executive. 

The women say they were not getting any information, (from anyone) so a week ago Maria pressed her landlord and demanded to know what was going on. She was told in a text message that they would all have to move out.

“We don’t WANT to move – it’s expensive and there is a shortage of places for rent, but we don’t want to live illegally,” said Paula  “Will Frendcastle find us alternative homes? It’s not fair that we have to go through all this, we have done nothing wrong  - but they have. She added “My son has had three schools in four years, I want my family to be settled. We get our council tax bills addressed to ‘Flat X’ so they must have known”

Frendcastle’s web site boasts “a personal and comprehensive estate agency service for homebuyers, investors, landlords and tenants” I asked them several questions.

  • Will they help their residents find new homes and pay their moving expenses?
  • Have they an apology or message for their residents’ inconvenience?
  • Will they do gas safety checks to all flats that need them?

Names that appear on the Enforcement Notice (dated August 2016) are: Anthony William Bullman, Charles Edgar Bullman (Bullman Holdings Pension Fund), Laurelin Investments Ltd.

The company declined to comment other than to say that rent was collected “on behalf of client accounts”.

Viv Ellis


12 July 2017


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