Mum issues urgent warning to homebuyers over dream house nightmare – Liverpool Echo

A mum-of-two issued a warning to homebuyers after her dream house turned into a nightmare.

Emily Bigg planned for her two young children to enjoy playing outside in their new build home after moving in two years ago.

But, despite choosing a plot of land specifically for this, the mum was heartbroken when the garden was left flooded and unusable.

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Emily said the back of her new build house in Ormskirk is now constantly under water because of drainage problems.

Her complaints to Taylor Wimpey then fell on deaf ears with the housebuilding firm telling her she needs to ‘look after her garden better’.

The mum of two is now warning other buyers not to fall into the same trap and urged Taylor Wimpey to learn from the situation.

Emily told LancsLive : “It’s better in summer. There’s just no drainage so it just gets waterlogged and then there’s no grass.

“It’s probably a similar story for a lot of people, not just in the garden but in the houses.

“We got told when we bought the house it was a two-year warranty for any problems. My house is shared ownership so apparently the two years starts when the housing association buys it so mine expired a lot sooner than I thought.

“Regardless of that, I complained before then and the response was just ‘you need to look after the garden better’.”

Emily, who works as a costs drafter for a legal firm, moved into the house at the Highgrove Park development in April 2019 following a divorce and hoped it would be a bright start for her and her kids, who are now aged six and four, after previously renting in Formby.

At first, there did not seem to be much of an issue as they enjoyed their first summer there but problems soon began to materialise during the colder months. From then, the back end of the garden turned into a muddy swamp with the grass unable to recover from the constant flooding.

Persistant flooding has ruined the garden at Emily Louise Bigg's home at Highgrove Park, Ormskirk
Persistant flooding has ruined the garden at Emily Louise Bigg’s home at Highgrove Park, Ormskirk
(Image: Not Reach PLC owned)

Throughout the various lockdowns, the garden could have been a haven for the children and Emily but became largely unusable, especially throughout winter.

She was quoted four figure sums by gardeners and landscapers who conceded that any work might not even rectify the problem long term as the surrounding gardens slope towards the same point.

In the end, she had decking fitted on the back third of the garden, thanks in part to the kind local trader who gave her a good deal after hearing about her problems on Facebook.

Emily said: “I specifically picked this house because of the garden. It’s a good size and it’s south-facing so you get more sun.

“I know it’s a first world problem and there’s worse things going on but I shouldn’t be having to deal with this.

“I don’t have thousands of pounds to fix the garden.”

Emily said she was given a leaflet when she moved in explaining that she must regularly mow and aerate the lawn and that the advice was repeated to her when she tried to complain, despite her explaining she had done so.

A representative for Taylor Wimpey did visit the property but said it was not responsible for the problem.

That stance is backed up by National House Building Council standards which states it is not the responsibility of the developer to rectify any areas of the garden that are holding water that are further than three metres from the house.

Emily said: “There’s basically no drainage, it doesn’t matter what you do.

“It just never dries. If we were to have a week of sun, it would probably dry out but then when it’s dry because it’s clay it just cracks.

“It’s better in the summer and we do use it a bit then. But it’s embarrassing, you want to have people around and it’s just a big mess.

She continued: “I went to the site directors and I went over them and it goes nowhere. They’re not interested.

“One of the things with buying a new build is you think you’re covered by all these warranties but you’re not and it’s disheartening.”

Emily hopes that by speaking of her own problem, she can encourage others to get more assurances when moving into a new build home and highlight that not all are built to an acceptable standard.

She said: “I was well aware of the fact that a lot of people have issues with new builds. Usually the complaints are things like the walls being too thin, which believe me they are, but the main thing was with me being on my own, I could only get a 25% share or I’d have to carry on renting. It was this or nothing.

“I just think Taylor Wimpey should be held to account because the situations here and at other estates are appalling.

“It feels like if you make a complaint, no-one is interested.

“I know that I’ve kind of fixed the situation but I shouldn’t have to fix it and I couldn’t really afford to.

“They’re still building more houses and there’s no way they’ve listened and learnt and are doing things better now.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: “Customer satisfaction is a priority for Taylor Wimpey and we are sorry that one of our customers at Highgrove Park is unhappy with her garden.

“We are in close contact with the customer and have visited her to discuss the issues reported to us.

“All of our customers receive guidance on how to look after their gardens when they move into their new homes and we have offered some advice to the customer to help with ongoing maintenance.”

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