A PORT Glasgow homeowner fears his flat will be rendered worthless as Inverclyde's largest housing provider continues to fail to carry out 'urgent' work to lift a council-ordered environmental notice that has been in place for more than FOUR YEARS.

Andrew Farmer blasted factor River Clyde Homes (RCH) over its inaction at a block of flats on Highholm Street and says no-one within the organisation is taking responsibility for completing the necessary repairs.

Mr Farmer, 58 - who has suffered two heart attacks - paid £27,000 outright for his second floor home towards the end of 2022 after giving up his NHS job due to health issues and swapping Stoke-on-Trent for Inverclyde.

He then sought to sell the property just a few months later because his pet chocolate labrador, Will, also has medical problems and needs a more accessible address. 

It was only then that he became aware of the longstanding environmental notice that remains active on the block where he lives.

The statutory notice, served in September 2019 to all homeowners within the block regarding rainwater ingress affecting a third floor flat, formalised 'the need for effective action to be taken to abate the issue'.

But delays by factors RCH in completing remedial work led to Mr Farmer losing out on a sale - and he fears he may now be stuck with a flat that has lost all of its value.

Greenock Telegraph: Andrew FarmerAndrew Farmer (Image: George Munro)

He told the Telegraph: "I'll never be able to sell the place.

"The deterioration will gradually become worse.

"All RCH have done is put a plaster on but they haven't fixed the problem.

"I absolutely feel let down by River Clyde Homes.

"What's it going to cost me eventually? It's just going to be compounded. It could become worthless."

Mr Farmer said he contacted RCH about the water ingress a year ago and was told the problem would be fixed within four months.

Greenock Telegraph: Highholm StreetHighholm Street (Image: George Munro)

He said: "When I noticed water cascading down the building I thought 'Oh, wow, that's something more major'.

"I stayed down in England for a few months last year, came back at the end of June, then there was the bad weather in July and I realised then that they hadn't done the work.

"They sent an email saying all the work had been done, so I took a video of it. They did one side but hadn't done the other. A cross-section of downpipe was missing.

"I complained to RCH, it got to the second stage, they wrote back and said the work had been carried out but didn't apologise.

"The bigger picture is it's like a whitewash.

"I tried to do so much but when you ask to escalate it you don't get a call back, I asked for a meeting and didn't get anywhere, and now they just pass me onto different people to dodge it."

Greenock Telegraph: Highholm StreetHighholm Street (Image: George Munro)

The home report for the property, prepared in October 2022, said the four storey block of eight units is around 90-years-old, and Mr Farmer's flat was deemed to be in reasonable condition apart from urgent window and door repairs and replacement rainwater fittings.

A broken or missing section of downpipe at the back of the building was listed, along with a leaking downpipe at the front due to the removal of the inspection panel.

The surveyor noted: "Ongoing general maintenance works will be required to the external fabric of the building, in particular to roof coverings, rainwater goods and outer walls.

"Ideally an ongoing maintenance programme should be adopted and undertaken on a regular basis."

Mr Farmer is now demanding higher standards from factors and social housing providers - and he agrees with local businessmen Sandy and James Easdale that refurbishing rather than demolishing properties would help address local housing shortages.


READ MORE: 'Astonishing': Businessmen hit out at flats demolition plan amid housing shortages

He said: "You're hearing more and more stories like this emerging in the press and it's like they've forgotten.

"I'm hoping that by the Tele reporting on it, it will benefit not only me but the community.

"I just can't understand why there's no sort of vision because, yeah, the fabric doesn't look great from the outside, but it certainly could be improved.

"Knocking them down and starting again, that benefits the wealthy and the poor are becoming even more marginalised and haven't got a voice. What's going to happen?

"They just want to build new houses instead of maintaining the ones that are there. You see more and more that are empty and you just think, 'Why?'"

A River Clyde Homes spokesperson said: "We have recently undertaken repairs to the property at Highholm Street and are scheduled to carry out a final inspection of the roof space to confirm the integrity of the works.

"When this is complete we will notify Inverclyde Council in order that the statutory environmental notice is lifted."

A council spokesperson said the local authority 'will continue to engage with the factors and owners to provide support and advice where possible and to, hopefully, achieve a solution that suits all parties'.