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Persimmon Homes urged to take urgent fire safety action after issues at Iwade Estate

A father-of-two is calling for urgent action to be taken after he was told his home didn’t have a vital fire safety measure fitted.

Ben Wyatt, who lives in Meadow Brown View on the Persimmon Homes Iwade Estate, was told last week his house had not had cavity barriers installed.

Sittingbourne homeowner fights for safety measures on house

The equipment helps contain any fire and slow the spread of smoke and flames to other homes.

The 43-year-old, who bought his home in August 2014, said he had been “fighting tooth and nail” to get the property checked ever since the issue was highlighted in the news about a year ago.

But despite numerous calls on his behalf to the developer, no one came to inspect his home until last Monday.

“Two guys came out at 8am on Monday and after a short inspection said we had no cavity barriers in our home.

Ben Wyatt is not happy that builders of his house in Iwade have failed to add a fire cavity barrier that should be in the eaves Picture: John Westhrop
Ben Wyatt is not happy that builders of his house in Iwade have failed to add a fire cavity barrier that should be in the eaves Picture: John Westhrop

“We then got a letter, dated October 2, saying our house needed to be inspected for the cavity barriers – it’s farcical.

“Now we’re being told they could potentially come out on October 31 to do the work but there’s no guarantee – that’s another month away.”

Mr Wyatt, who lives in the house with his wife Sarah and their boys, Oliver and Joshua, added: “We’ve been told the cavity barriers are vital for our safety but we’ve got to wait for them to be installed.

“What do we do now? Do we move home until the work is carried out? They’re meant to give you up to 30 minutes to get out of the house – our family is at risk without them. It’s dangerous.”

Mr Wyatt said the revelation had made him feel physically sick. “I want somebody out to fix and install the cavity barriers immediately – make our house safe,” he said. “I also want someone to acknowledge what has not been done. Someone has got to be held accountable – somebody signed this property off, saying it met fire regulations. Five years we have been at risk and we didn’t even know.”

Cavity barriers are designed to seal against fire and smoke
Cavity barriers are designed to seal against fire and smoke

Housing developer Persimmon Homes announced in August that homes in Iwade were to be inspected over concerns the adequate fire safety measures had not been installed correctly.

This came after a blaze in Deal last year.

Then last month, a spokesman for Persimmon Homes South East said: “Residents of all 74 properties on this phase of development at Iwade are set to receive eaves inspections to establish if cavity barriers are in place.

“Inspections are currently in progress and ongoing and are being carried out in sequence. Contact has been made with the first 49 customers and appointments scheduled. Contact with the remaining 25 customers will follow.

“Persimmon Homes has a dedicated team in place to deal with any remedial works that are required and remains focused on its customers and continues to communicate directly with them.

“We apologise if an appointment was missed and will look into this at once in order to reschedule.”

Yesterday, the firm said: "We take the safety concerns of our customers very seriously and encourage homeowners to contact their local Persimmon Homes office, who will be able to assist with their enquiry.”

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