Refurbishment to flats has been stopped after leaseholders faced paying tens of thousands for the work.

Harlow Council made the decision to stop the major refurbishment works to flat blocks at Five Acres after facing backlash and repeated questions from leaseholders over several months.

After a review of the scheme the council has taken the decision to immediately stop the progress.

Read more:

Residents were assured they would not have to pay for any of the works carried out to date, including survey works, after some were initially faced with maintenance bills of up to £30,000.

A council spokesperson said: “Following several ongoing concerns raised by leaseholders it was clear that we needed to stop and listen and review the major works scheme for the Five Acres flat blocks.”

The council has written to all leaseholders and tenants to inform them of the decision.

The spokesperson added: “Whilst the surveys being carried out currently will conclude, no progression of this scheme will come forwards in this financial year.”

“If any future decision is made to progress the major works scheme at all it will be following full consultation with tenants and leaseholders and no decision will be made until the next financial year."

According to a council report from March, the works cost a sum on £1.2 million for external refurbishment, replacement rain water goods, brickwork and crack repairs, replace shiplap cladding with UPVC, replacement windows, flat entrance doors and communal doors, and external landscaping repairs.

“The scaffolding and materials on site are being removed immediately,” the spokesperson added.

“One block will continue to have scaffolding up while we address an urgent roof issue. As soon as this urgent issue is addressed, the scaffolding around this block will too be removed.

The council has apologised for the "difficult time" and "confusion" faced by residents.

“We recognise the need to improve communication on major works schemes and to ensure better processes are in place for future schemes. We are going to review our entire process to major works and consultation.”