Mystery defective door probe gets under way

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The major Derry social housing landlord Apex, has just started a survey of 180 houses in Creggan that may be affected by a distorted door phenomenon that’s made it nearly impossible for residents to keep out the wintry draughts of December.

Apex Housing Association commenced what it described as a “sample survey” in the relatively new Ballymagowan development off Circular Road last Wednesday following lobbying from Sinn Féin who believe up to 400 houses might be affected throughout the Creggan area.

The party recently raised serious concerns that a major repair scheme might be needed to address the defects in the new housing development in Creggan.

In a statement Sinn Féin said it feared over 400 properties in the area could have problems with the external doors in their homes.

How the doors became distorted remains a mystery at present.

However, it seems answers will soon be forthcoming after a probe was launched in recent days.

Apex, which does not know how the doors were distorted, told the ‘Journal’ it was carrying out an initial sample survey of 180 homes to find out.

“Apex has commissioned external consultants to survey a sample of the 180 properties in Ballymagowan to establish the reasons for the distortion evident on some doors, which has recently been brought to our attention,” a spokesperson said.

If and when problems are detected they will be fixed, said Apex.

“Following this, any remedial works required will be undertaken,” the spokesperson promised.

Sinn Féin said it recently met with Kevin Butler, Director of Property Services at Apex to discuss the problem and to try to arrive at some kind of resolution.

The party welcomed the confirmation by Apex that it was employing a consultancy company to conduct a sample survey across the area regarding the doors in order to determine the underlying issues.

“Once completed a report will be sent to Apex who will use this to make an informed decision on the matter going forward.

“We will continue to engage with them in the interim and will keep the residents updated with any developments,” the party said in a statement.

Residents of the Ballymagowan development had complained that the distorted doors were making it difficult for them to heat their homes and that this would become more acute over the colder winter month ahead.

Ballymagowan Park, a modern new build development at the far south-western end of Creggan, was completed as recently as 2013.

The development was ‘built to lifetime home standard’, according to the association, for whom the cause of the distorted door problem remains a mystery at this stage.

Sinn Féin said that the local residents in Ballymagowan hoped that the employment of the external consultancy company to conduct the survey will lead to any necessary repairs being conducted in the near future.