RESIDENTS who were awarded £900,000 in damages after winning a year-long battle with developers have spoken of their “nightmare” at being dragged through the courts.
Homeowners on Eden Park Estate, off Hart Lane, in Hartlepool, took York-based Shepherd Homes to court after suffering cracks and subsidence of their homes which left them unable to sell them.
After a High Court hearing, the developer has been ordered to pay a total of £877,943 damages to families in 10 lead cases – and that figure could rise with 40 other residents actively pursuing court action.
Residents in Clover Drive, Meadowgate Drive, Barley Close and Hayfield Close are to receive payouts of between £65,925 and £124,375. The on-going legal battle means they are prevented from discussing their individual cases, but one homeowner says the whole situation has been “stressful” for everyone involved.
They said: “When you see the figures that have been paid out so far, it may appear to be a victory for the residents.
“It does not reflect the many years of uncertainty we have had to endure at the hands of Shepherd and this will continue into the foreseeable future
“Since giving evidence at court, which was extremely stressful and being cross-examined in minute detail, it has taken over a year for this decision to be made and it could go on even longer if any appeals are lodged.”
The housing firm built the 95-home executive development between 2001 and 2004.
But since March 2003, some residents said their dreams had turned into nightmares as they suffered cracks and movement, with patios and paths sinking up to 10 inches.
Mr Justice Ramsey, sitting at the High Court in London, found the developer had breached the homeowner’s buildmark cover and the Defective Premises Act.
The resident added: “Shepherd was happy to take our money and we were happy for them to give us that money back for our houses so we could move on.
“But that was refused.
“They sold us a dream, but we bought a nightmare.”