Five years after the 2011 election and many tenants in Laguna, Moorish Castle and Glacis Estate continue to live in a construction site. In some blocks at Laguna Estate, works have not even started. Earlier this year, after we pressed the Minister for Housing on when the Alliance Government expected to complete its 2011 manifesto commitment, she said in Parliament that Glacis Estate and Phase 1 of Laguna Estate were estimated to be completed by September 2016 and that Moorish Castle was estimated to be completed by December 2016.
The Glacis and Laguna phase 1 dates have already come and gone and the works do not appear like they will be completed any time soon. This is not surprising given that there have been reduced crews working on the project for some time now. No doubt, the reckless amounts of money spent by Mr. Picardo in the last five years has had an impact on the pace at which these projects can proceed. Furthermore, and even more worrying, is the way in which the workmanship is already showing signs of depreciation.
Drying enclosures are deteriorating fast, with many residents unable to use them due to the impossible task of maintaining them clean. The rust is clearly visible even to passersby. Many of these also appear to have been installed on the wrong level, with the enclosures being the width of the balcony for the maisonette flats but having been installed at corridor level. This also creates potential theft issues, not previously a problem as laundry lines were placed on the balcony level of maisonette flats. Tenants have also expressed concerns at the materials used to render the walls which is already showing signs of deterioration in places. Indeed, there seems to be considerable discrimination between the internal refurbishment plans for estates, with Glacis Estate having received minimal or no internal refurbishments whatsoever.
Works on phase 1 of Laguna Estate, namely; Rodney House, Smith Dorrien House, Mallard House, Forbes House, Landport House, Orillion House, Bayside House, Maidstone House, Blackwatch House, Causeway House and Nelson House, seems to have stalled in terms of completion. Rodney House, the block unveiled prior to the 2015 General Election has had just one of the two lifts relating to this block commissioned only recently. The beautification of this block is also being hampered by the amount of cables hanging around on podiums, etc. This is a common trait in all phase 1 blocks. The remainder of the blocks are still considerably well away from completion, with many not having had the internal tiles replaced and lifts still to be commissioned. More surprisingly, is the lack of health and safety measures being taken, with no signs of proper measures in place to prohibit the general public from entering areas of high risk.
None of this, of course, includes blocks nearest to Devils Tower Road, where works have not even begun yet nearly five years after works on the estate started.
The Government must be clear with tenants as to what is delaying the commissioning of lifts for the blocks already meant to have been completed. Given the lifts have been lying at Lathbury Barracks for the past two years and have yet to be commissioned an adequate explanation is now well overdue. We also call on the Government to provide people with realistic completion dates for all overdue phases, including those blocks where work has not begun. It must also tackle basic health and safety issues which is an accident waiting to happen. Finally, commenting on the general standard of the refurbishment, many tenants have complained to the us that they believe maintenance will be an issue for the future. The Government should also be clear about what maintenance policies are planned to be introduced after works are completed.