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Allerton dad asks: "How long does it take to mend a fence?"
8:00am Friday 7th February 2014 in News
A father has criticised his landlord for taking weeks to repair a garden fence he claims has become a danger to his four young children.
Robert Whitford, 39, has become involved in a long-running battle with social housing group Incommunities over damage to his back garden in Upper Grange Avenue, Allerton, Bradford.
Mr Whitford, who shares the house with partner Ruby Atter and their four children, all aged five or under, said the garden is unsafe for his children to play in until the fence is repaired, but Incommunities said the work has been delayed since early December by “difficult” weather conditions.
“They keep saying that this work will be done at some point, but never when,” said Mr Whitford. “I have been told that if we needed the work doing that urgently, we’d have to do it ourselves.
“I was also told that we’re not a priority, as we don’t live on a busy or dangerous road and my children have a front garden they can safely play in.”
Damage to the fence, which Incommunities confirm was first reported on December 5 last year, has left a gap on to open grassland at the back of the garden, and also allowed access to a neighbouring back yard, which Mr Whitford said contains a broken manhole cover that could cause injury to his children.
“Our neighbours have been complaining to us about the mess, but its the children’s safety that’s the main thing,” he said. “We can’t allow them out there at the moment as it’s just too dangerous. I’m not sure if and when this work will ever get done, but it is Incommunities’ responsibility to get it sorted. It’s gone on too long now, it’s beyond a joke.”
A spokesman for Incommunities, which manages 22,500 rented and leasehold homes across the Bradford district, said one of the firm’s joiners had visited the property on December 13 to make the fencing safe, before returning on January 21 to measure up and order materials for the necessary repair work.
After originally stating the work would be completed by the end of January, there was then another delay, prompting Mr Whitford to take further action.
“Due to the difficult weather conditions last week it was unfortunately not possible to carry out the necessary ground work to secure the fencing, which had been our intention,” said the spokesman.
“We can confirm that we are starting to carry out the necessary repair and replacement work at the rear of the property next week, and weather permitting, the fencing will be completed within that week.”