Bid to cram three more flats into troubled town development

THE developer of the troubled Pullman Court apartment block in Grays is bidding to squeeze three more flats into the build.

As reported recently in the Thurrock Independent, purchasers of flats in the original developments have raised serious issues about the quality of the build – with one residents reporting he has already had to spend tens of thousands of pounds to bring his newly built home up to a standard fit for him and his family to live in.

A surveyor who has visited the flats reported that some of the build standards were so low there ‘was a risk to life’.

The site developer, Tony Coates, has admitted he is strapped for cash as he bids to try and complete the original building – and he was in need of the remaining unsold units to be sold to raise the money required to meet his commitments to residents.

He said: “It’s a matter of cash flow. The banks have been helpful but at the end of the day we need to bring money in by selling the rest of the flats to be able to complete the sale. When the money comes in, we will be able to invest in completing it to the standards we set.”

Now he has gone back to Thurrock Council with a request to convert some office space within the building, behind the former Pullman pub on Grays High Street, into three flats.

He is seeking a change of use of s190 sq metres within the building, allocated for offices, to one two bed and two one bed apartments.

The application for conversion has been backed by the finance company that effectively owns the building. Last month a source at Pluto Finance, which has distanced itself from responsibility for building failings, said it had been assured that Mr Coates’ company would address the issues and it has supported his application for the changes to Thurrock Council.

How the Thurrock Independent reported on troubles at the Pullman Court development.

One of the worst affected residents who has moved into the block is marketer Dainius Miniotas. He and his family who have been besieged by problems throughout the apartment since moving in six months ago. Leak and mould has wreaked havoc upon his property.

The leak has destroyed the ceiling, walls and units in the kitchen and bathroom which Mr Miniotas is having to repair himself.

He said: “We had to repair the whole flat from our own money; our loss is about £47,000.”

Perhaps most worryingly, Mr Miniotas’ young daughter (right)was diagnosed with a fungal skin infection that was caused by constant exposure to mould.

The Miniotas family were promised a new kitchen six months ago but have since met a wall of silence from the developer who they feel thinks that he bears no responsibility towards them.

Two and three bedroom apartments at Pullman Court are on the market for upwards of £275,000 and were promoted as being an aspirational investment.

An independent survey commissioned by Mr Miniotas said: “Although the individual flats have been ‘signed-off’ by an approved Inspector under the provisions of the Building Regulations 2010 the common areas are yet to be ‘signed-off’ and there is concern that the fire/smoke detection and alarm system as well as the emergency lighting is not fully functioning.

“As a consequence, the buildings insurance may be vitiated and the occupiers are at risk.

“Until the aforesaid are fully operational and certified as such your continued occupation should be considered as a risk to life.”