We've been living in a 'prison' for years: Apartment block residents surrounded by scaffolding live in the dark and can't sleep or hear themselves think as building work to replace faulty cladding continues with no end in sight
by: Hani Kamal El-Din
Residents in a London apartments block have described living with hardly any sunlight, constant building noise, dust and sleep issues due to ongoing building work to remove faulty cladding.
The Oak Square complex, near Stockwell in south London, was discovered to have problems with cladding in 2014 when a tile fell off the wall and onto the pavements below, revealing gaps in the building.
Due to a hand over of building contracts this year from Equans back to Higgins, the original builders of the complex, as well multiple delays, residents have been left living in what they describe as a ‘prison’ with sunlight blocked by scaffolding, building noise early in the morning, broken lifts and insufficient heating in some apartments.
Joanna Everest, 49, a former RAF reservist of ten years and now civil servant, is a resident who has lived at Acaia Court since 2017. Ms Everest has Fibromyalgia and says the issues at the apartment complex are only getting worse.
She said: ‘I am in a lot of pain with having Fibromyalgia.
‘I am not able to get enough sleep because of the building noise early in the morning and the dust.
‘I am studying online for a qualification in cyber security, and I have to go into the office to do my job as well as my coursework. I can’t work from home due to the noise as it interrupts Zoom meetings.
‘Over the past two years, the issues have only been getting worse. It’s so noisy, it’s dark unless I turn my lights on because no sunlight can get in past all scaffolding. Sometimes the walls vibrate with the drilling.