Ballymore's Royal Wharf plagued by broken doors for over 18 months
Residents at Royal Wharf, a joint development between Ballymore and Oxley in East London, have been living with broken and malfunctioning doors for over 18 months, with no clear end in sight. Ballymore Asset Management Group (the managing agents of the development), Oxley and Ballymore continue to seemingly point the finger at each other on who should take responsibility.
Doors to the vast majority of the apartment blocks at Royal Wharf have been the source of frustration for residents, with frequent jams and refusals to lock or unlock plaguing them since they were originally installed. Despite concerns raised by residents at a forum with the managing agents in May 2018 (some 18 months ago), no substantial work has been undertaken to fix the doors permanently. Instead, more buildings appear to have been completed in the development using the same door manufacturer, and as a result, have begun to develop similar issues. In the meantime, Ballymore and Oxley continue to sell properties at the development, many with asking prices of over £1 million.
Instead of permanent fixes, the managing agents have performed dozens of repairs, which often only solve the issues for days (and sometimes only hours). To make matters worse, the cost for such repairs is added to the service charge payable by leaseholders at the development.
Royal Wharf News has also seen correspondence sent by a Fire Safety Inspector for the London Fire Brigade, indicating that a sample inspection of one building in September 2019 showed deficiencies on 3 of the 5 cores of the building. Residents have encouraged the London Fire Brigade to extend this inspection to the whole development, so the full extent of the issues can be established.
The Royal Wharf Residents Association, which represents almost 1,000 residents and leaseholders at Royal Wharf, has highlighted the serious security and safety concerns to the managing agents, including reports of an instance where the faulty doors delayed the emergency services access to a building, but still no progress has been made.
Rob Lockwood, the Chair of the Royal Wharf Residents Association said:
We're very disappointed by the inaction that Ballymore, Oxley and the managing agents have shown towards repairing or replacing these doors which were clearly not fit for purpose from the day they were installed. Replacing or permanently repairing the doors has been one of the Residents' Association's top issues since we were established in 2018. Unfortunately, we haven't seen any real progress on the issue, with bureaucracy and finger-pointing taking the place of definitive action.
We frequently receive reports from our members, explaining their frustrations that the broken doors are an all-too-common occurrence at Royal Wharf, which affects the security and safety of residents in the development, and has done for over 18 months. The lack of communication with residents and leaseholders on the issue only serves to increase the frustration of residents.
Even more concerning are recent reports from residents that issues with the main doors at the development have hampered the ability for the emergency services to access a block at Royal Wharf. Our biggest concern is that neither Oxley nor Ballymore will act with any great impetus until a significant incident occurs.
We really hope they see sense, and put in place a plan to replace all the malfunctioning doors which are clearly not fit for purpose, and ensure this is not done at the leaseholders' expense.
A Ballymore & Oxley Spokesperson said:
The Royal Wharf team over a number of months has endeavoured to make repairs on a number of doors to communal areas at the development. In tandem, as the works have not resulted in a solution long term, a tender process has been underway. The process is now concluded, and engineering firm ARUP have been appointed, whose scope of work is to conduct a thorough investigation and recommend a permanent solution as a matter of urgency. Now that the tender process has concluded on this important next step, we will keep residents updated with the investigation findings as they arise, and ultimately with the programme of works proposed.