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Maidstone: Families furious after Bovis Homes delay house move to Orchard Fields, Hermitage Lane

By Jodie Nesling

It was a meant to be a Christmas to remember for families excited to be moving into their brand new homes.

They ordered removal vans and said goodbye to their neighbours before preparing to leave for the Bovis Homes' development, Orchard Fields.

But instead the presents remain in the vans, houses are hastily being cleaned and families are facing Christmas in a hotel as the developer delayed the move at the 11th hour.

Helen Batt, Kelly Terry and Michelle Brown
Helen Batt, Kelly Terry and Michelle Brown

Kelly Terry and her husband, Scott, bought their off-plan home in April. They had been looking forward to moving in and starting a family after agreeing their part exchange.

But things began to go wrong in August when their garage was built with the wrong coloured bricks. Since then they say there has been terrible communication and a series of broken promises.

Kelly, a 28-year-old teacher, said: "We were told we were moving in on Wednesday and took time off work and ordered a van as we were doing it ourselves.

Building work is continuing at the development
Building work is continuing at the development

"At 8.30pm on Tuesday evening we were told we couldn't move in. We had to spend the night in a hotel and were effectively homeless."

The couple, after constantly calling, finally moved in yesterday but then to their shock discovered their three-bedroom house was filthy with snagging issues, no proper tiles, and a leaking bathroom.

Scott, a policeman, even touched a light fitting and it fell from the ceiling. On top of that Christmas food has been thrown away as the fridge wasn't ready.

The developers have come under fire but the builders praised
The developers have come under fire but the builders praised

The couple were looking forward to having Kelly's parents over for Christmas Eve but now it looks like they will be helping them unpack.

Michelle Brown and her husband have moved from Surrey to be closer to family. The Christmas presents for their three children aged between 10 and three are still locked away in the removal van.

The 34-year-old said: "We had lived in our house for 11 years and all our children were born there. We got called at our kids' nativity play that evening saying we could not move in - we wanted it to be special as it was saying goodbye and we were constantly checking our phones for news.

A welcome sign at Kelly and Scott Terry's home which was is not ready
A welcome sign at Kelly and Scott Terry's home which was is not ready

"If we are not (moved) in today Christmas is cancelled. We are trying to keep the magic alive for the children but it's really hard. On the way down here we were so stressed.

"We have sold our house and are now in a hotel. We have not even had an apology."

Helen Batt has also been affected. The 32-year-old property solicitor has been left furious over the broken promises and shoddy customer service.

She said: "I was supposed to complete on Tuesday and monies were only sent through yesterday afternoon. I was then told the flooring hadn't been done and the wrong kitchen was fitted."

Despite the severe stress the move has cause the residents are in full admiration of the builders who they say worked around the clock to get them into their homes for Christmas.

Mrs Brown said: "We should be offered compensation. Nobody has even said sorry."

A spokesman from Bovis Homes said: "Orchard Fields is a hugely popular location and our Build and Sales teams have been working hard with our contractors and the National House Building Council to ensure that all those customers who wanted to move into their new homes for Christmas are able to do so.

"We apologise to them for any delays or inconvenience caused during this busy period, and where there have been delays we have ensured that customers have free accommodation available during the period of disruption. After moving in, our customers are initially supported directly by the site management team, and thereafter by a dedicated customer care team, to ensure any issues are resolved, with an out of hours number of 0845 456 5999 in the event of emergencies."

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