Ikea’s first flatpack homes in the UK are an unfinished eyesore, invade neighbour’s privacy and are plagued by rats, locals say
Locals overlooking Britain’s first flatpack IKEA homes say they are ugly, invade their privacy and are plagued by rats.
The Bristol development – known as BoKlok on the Brook – is the first of its kind to be built outside of Scandinavia.
But those living in homes which overlook the ‘blocks’ say their lives have suffered as a result of the ‘eyesore’ project and are complaining to their local MP.
Building work began in 2020 and was hit by delays, although some residents have now moved in.
Retiree Frederick Truckle, 71, lives on nearby Alard Road. He said: ‘I keep my hedges up because they can see in my garden – it’s disgusting.
‘Without that I’d be looking in their windows all the time, and they’d be looking into mine. It’s terrible. It’s an eyesore.’
The Bristol development – known as BoKlok on the Brook – is the first of its kind to be built outside of Scandinavia. Much of it is still unfinished
Those living in homes which overlook the ‘blocks’ say their lives have suffered as a result of the ‘eyesore’ project and are complaining to their local MP
Building work began in 2020 and was hit by delays, although some residents have now moved in
Supermarket worker Jackie Bowey, 61, also lives on Alard Road and said: ‘I saw the plans at the BoKlok office in 2021 and they were totally different.
‘When they said they were building them, the plans showed that the houses wouldn’t be facing us – that it would be brick.
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‘So when they started building I contacted them and said it’s not on because you said they wouldn’t be facing us.
‘I said I think it’s disgusting that [the development is] overlooking my garden.’
Ms Bowey says a BloKlok team member came to visit her house after she complained.
She claims: ‘He came over and said ”what’s the problem?”. I said ”can’t you see it right in front of your face?”
‘I asked if they could build a higher fence and he said no because that would mean more planning permission.
‘This is my family home and they just don’t care what you say. The value of my home could be affected because of this.’
The IKEA houses – built in partnership with construction firm Skanska – sit on the busy A4174.
Supermarket worker Jackie Bowey, 61, also lives on Alard Road and said: ‘I saw the plans at the BoKlok office in 2021 and they were totally different
Retiree Frederick Truckle, 71, lives on nearby Alard Road. He said: ‘I keep my hedges up because they can see in my garden – it’s disgusting’
The houses are not built from scratch on site but are usually delivered in two parts
The road runs to the south on the outskirts of Knowle West – one of the city’s more deprived areas.
Residents around the housebuilding project have also complained of noise pollution, dust and an increase in the local rat population.
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Construction work is still being carried out at the site, although all the houses now seem to be in place.
The houses are not built from scratch on site but are usually delivered in two parts.
Mark, 57, is a neighbour to the development. He would not give his job or surname.
He said that his main concern is vermin.
Mark said: ‘We’ve got traps down the alleyway. We had a bit of a problem with rats before but it got really bad when they started work.’
Building work began on the project in 2020 but was hit by delays.
Developers even had to put people who had paid sizeable deposits in Airbnbs while they waited for the work to be finished, according to local reports.
Complaints were then made about vandals getting into the empty site by breaking through fencing.
One man posted on Facebook about the lack of security.
He wrote: ‘BoKlok UK again no security around the site at boklok on the brook this is happening all the time now, the site is a magnet for [kids] getting in, to make matters worse this has been closed for nearly two weeks and NOTHING has been done.’
The IKEA houses – built in partnership with construction firm Skanska – sit on the busy A4174
BoKlok UK replied online, and said: ‘We are aware of the issue and the recurring vandalism.
‘Our site teams are regularly checking and repairing the fencing.
‘We have installed additional security on site but unfortunately, this has not totally mitigated the problem.
‘We have been in touch with Avon & Somerset Police, who will be sending out an officer’.
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Charlotte Parry, 28, and Joel Collins, 31, moved into their £272,000, two-bedroom BoKlok house in January this year after a 13-month delay.
The couple were given a range of reasons each time their move was pushed back.
Ms Parry, a technician at Bath University, said: ‘It was Covid, it was the war in Ukraine, it was a timber shortage.’
‘We were renting so every time we would have to go back and say actually can you not put it on the market.
‘We ended up staying in an Airbnb for three months because we had nowhere else to go.
‘They paid for some of it – the actual cost of the Airbnb- but they didn’t take into account the extra petrol for work, the storage locker.’
Mr Collins, a software developer, added: ‘They’d say the move-in is right around the corner, then it would be a wait for three months and then another three months.
‘What’s insane about that is they barely had it ready for January so surely they knew well before it wouldn’t be ready for October.’
The pair had been excited to live in an eco-friendly home but ended up frustrated with the lack of communication and an unclear complaints process.
There is a portal where residents can log issues but the couple said it can take weeks to get a reply.
Residents also requested a town hall with the BoKlok on the Brook team but they were refused.
Residents around the housebuilding project have also complained of noise pollution, dust and an increase in the local rat population
They have noticed a number of snagging issues, including loose screws, a wonky bath and a wrongly installed heat pump.
Ms Parry said: ‘It’s really disheartening to go around the house and find little things that just aren’t right.
‘This is supposed to be done to a standard but they’ve just done the bare minimum.’
Mr Collins added: ‘If it was on time then fair enough but it’s been so long. And when they do send someone round to fix it, it’s a toss up whether they’ll make it better or worse.
‘We’ve started doing stuff ourselves because the people they send round do more harm than good.’
Residents in a section of the BoKlok apartments have been asked to leave while work is done to repair wrongly installed showers which left water dripping.
One of the apartment owners had a scare when an electric outlet in a kitchen shorted and burnt the surrounding insulation.
Tochi Okoye, 27, is pregnant and lives in a three-bed house on the development with her partner, and has had an issue with the noise from the building work.
The flatback homes can usually be built quickly so have been touted as a response to the housing crisis
Ms Okoye, a litigator, said: ‘I work and sometimes I have the window open when I’m on the phone with customers. I’m paranoid that they can hear all the noise.’
‘You can hear the drilling and the big trucks coming down.
‘We moved in February this year but we were meant to move in April last year. They said it was to do with Covid and materials.
‘We had to keep extending our mortgage. We had to move from our flat into another place for six months because we had timed it so that we could move from our place into here but that was impossible.
‘We asked if they could pay some of the rent but they didn’t. There was no compensation.’
A BoKlok spokesperson said: ‘All homes at BoKlok on the Brook have been delivered as per our planning consent.
‘We appreciate that a housing scheme still under development from time to time may cause inconvenience for existing residents and neighbours, however we are working with third-party contractors to complete all works required for the benefit of all residents as well as those who are moving in during the final build phase.
‘Our aftercare team is committed to supporting our customers and have rectified snagging defects within the reporting times allocation.
‘If there are any customers who have a specific concern, which they do not feel has been sufficiently addressed, we would always urge them to contact our customer care team direct – whose details have been provided.’
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