HOUSING Executive tenants in Strabane have claimed that complaints that their kitchens are “falling apart” are not being heard.
Residents in the Springhill Park area, some of whom are paying full rent for their properties, have said that despite repeated reports to the housing body that unit doors are unhinged and handles are falling off, no-one wants to take responsibility.
Rona Lafferty, who has been living in her Springhill home for the past eight years says all she wants is value for money paid.
“I’ve tried to get a new kitchen but I’ve been told no,” she explained.
“I need a new one, that’s the basic story. The cupboard doors are hanging off, the handles have fallen off; I think I’m due a new kitchen. It’s falling apart.
“My sister too pays full rent and she’s been in her house 12 years and it’s the same story. When we report it and ask about a new kitchen, we’re told no.
“I don’t know how many times weve reported it. At one stage I was told I would have to pay for my own new cupboard handles. At this stage we’re fed up asking.”
She added, “Springhill Park seems to get nothing. It’s like we’re the forgotten estate.”
Strabane independent councillor, Paul Gallagher says this ‘forgotten estate’ concept is exemplified by recent statistics from NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) which showed Strabane’s East Ward – which includes Springhill Park – as being the most socially deprived in Northern Ireland.
“Everything reverts back to the home,” he said. “If you have a secure and comfortable home, it makes a huge difference. In this case, improving the home would be a major step forward in breaking the cycle of deprivation.
“Some of these people are paying full rent for their homes. But apart from that, people who are on housing benefit shouldn’t be getting second class service.
“This is a perfect example of why the East Ward is in the state it’s in.”
For its part, the Housing Executive denied receiving any reports from Rona Lafferty or her sister.
A spokesperson said, “We have not received any recent reports from either of these tenants about the condition of their kitchen.
“There are currently no planned kitchen replacement schemes in this area, however, one of our maintenance officers will carry out an inspection in both properties.
“We would ask tenants experiencing problems in their homes to contact their district office so that any issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.”