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Work to begin on houses involved in Arbed insulation scandal after contractors appointed

Arbed Scandal, village of Caerau (Pic: Lewis Smith)

WORK to repair houses damaged in a botched insulation scheme are one step closer to going ahead after Bridgend Council appointed contractors to carry out the work.

Members of the community in Caerau, Bridgend, say they have spent more than 10 years living in damp and mouldy homes after two projects, known as Arbed and CESP, saw their property’s damaged by a programme of improvements to increase their energy efficiency.

In many cases those living in the more than 100 homes affected say because of the poor insulation fittings to external walls they have suffered with issues such as damp, mould, and structural damage in the 10 years since work began.

While a specific date has not yet been given it seems as though the work to carry out the wall insulation repairs could begin soon after Bridgend council announced the appointment of contractors Warmworks.

A council spokesman said the company will  partner with SERS Energy Solutions Group, which specialises in the installation and repair of external wall insulations, to begin the removal of any “inadequate insulation” replacing it to meet quality standards.

It comes after the Welsh Government agreed to set aside around £2.65m worth of funding to rectify the situation in 2022 for homes affected by the 2012-13 projects which residents say left their homes “falling apart”.

However some residents who live in the area say they after years of fighting for the repairs to be made they won’t believe the work is actually starting until they see it.

Richie Humphries, 79, lives in one of the affected homes and said: “It is good for us to see that there are things starting to happen with the repairs but we’ve fought for so long now that I can’t believe anything’s going to happen until I actually see it taking place.”

Arbed Scandal, Richie Humphries (Pic: Lewis Smith)

Rhiannon Goodall also lives in one of the houses where the insulation was first fitted and added: “We’ve had a lot of letters given to us about the situation over the last couple of years with liaison officers appointed and now the contractors but as of yet nothing has happened. To be honest we’re ready to see some action now and not just words on paper.

“All the while we’re still living with the consequences of this work more than 10 years on with so much damp the water’s running off the walls. It’s like a trauma in a way, and for a lot of us it’s been going on for so long that we won’t believe things are moving forward until the work starts.”

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Arbed Scandal, Rhiannon Goodall (Pic: Lewis Smith)

Council chief executive Mark Shephard said: “The appointment of a contractor represents a significant milestone in this project and residents can be reassured by the detailed procurement process that has led to this appointment.

“Warmworks have delivered 150,000 energy efficiency measures in more than 40,000 households across the UK, consistently delivering the highest levels of quality and customer care. The works are nationally-accredited and are in line with all the latest regulations.

“Residents will soon be contacted directly about opportunities to meet the contractor and more information about the start date of the works will also be provided following discussions between the project team and contractor.”