Estate where residents’ face being left homeless after bills for major works have skyrocketed by 300%

Share this article

Residents at a central London estate say they could be left homeless after being hit with a 300per cent cost increase for a major refurbishment. 

Leaseholders at Hallfield Estate in Bayswater are being told to fork out as much as £60k extra for major works which started in 2012, according to email exchanges seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). 

Westminster City Council said inflation and global events like the pandemic as well as new building and fire safety regulations have resulted in unprecedented delays and cost increases. They also said the latest round of works differ from those started in 2012 while the LDRS understands a design defect in one of the blocks required remedial works, which contributed to delays.

But residents aren’t satisfied with the explanation and accuse the council of neglecting the estate, which they claim hasn’t had a major refurbish since it was built in the 1950s, and say the local authority has not doing enough to bring costs down.

Nayomi Roshini, 39, had work done in her tower block 14 years years ago. She said the windows builders installed jam and still has issues with damp. She said the windows did not meet specification, causing a gap between the frame and the surrounding wall which she said builders filled in with “cheap and substandard” carton and silicone.

Nayomi, who has lived in the estate since she was six and now chairs the local residents’ association, said: “Most people in Hallfield Estate are hardworking people and I feel we get penalised for that because that’s how it feels. My mother bought our flat but was left feeling that having a leasehold was a terrible choice. Leaseholders feel like this is an albatross around their neck.”

She’s even more concerned about residents who haven’t yet received their bill.


Work on the 14-block estate began in 2012 and was tipped to take two-and-a-half years to finish at a total cost of £12.5m but 14 years on and less than half is done. Cost for the latest phase of the five-stage refurb will cost £6m, with leaseholders expect to cover the lion share of that.

Estimates the LDRS has seen shows work on a flat with six bedspaces has jumped from £41k promised in 2012 to £105k. The cost for a flat with two bedspaces rose from just under £10k to £30,820 – a 310pc increase.

Tamara Bradshaw, 42, said receiving her £80k bill in October was a “life-changing” moment for the family. The mum-of-two, who also pays for her mother’s care home costs, said the family will have to give up holidays and delay updating their water-damaged bathroom which is over 40 years old just to cover the bill.

She said: “Where on Earth do I find £80k to pay these bills? We work. We pay our taxes. We pay our mortgage and pay extortionate childcare costs and feel we are doing everything right and then we feel like we have been hit by a bus with this bill.”

Tamara also needs ventilation installed, which she said wasn’t part of the original design and is paying extra to have. Without it, the health of her son, who has a severe disability and is prone to chest infections, could deteriorate. She currently spends her mornings cleaning condensation off the walls and has to deep-clean her son’s room once a week to keep mould at bay. 

She has also lived with broken windows for eight years, which she was told would be replaced when the major works reached her tower block.

She said: “We aren’t trying to dodge the bills. As a leaseholder you know that you will need to make contributions to major works bills when you purchase your home. However these bills are of such a high amount, many flats paying close to £100k or even over £100k each, it’s a completely unreasonable expectation from Westminster council, especially given that the delay is due to their own catalogue of errors. 

“As a normal working family, we have nowhere to find this amount of money, however are desperate for the new windows to replace those that have been neglected and damaged over a 70 year period.”

She feels the council isn’t interested in negotiating cost savings with contractors because it owns less than 35pc of the estate. Westminster City has no responded to this claim. 

Hallfield Estate in Bayswater has ASB issues.  Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon


Brian Taylor, 70, has also lived on the estate since he was six and bought his flat with his parents in the 1980s.

But what was meant to be a smart investment for the future has now turned into a nightmare, the retired black cab driver said. He is one of hundreds of leaseholder waiting anxiously for their bill.

“We are paying for their negligence,” he said as he pointed to boulders of missing concrete in tower blocks and rotting handrails. 

He claims builders have blocked drain pipes with waste and accused them of doing shoddy paint work. Brian said: “I once peeled off so much paint I found some from the 1970s.”

Unlike Tamara and Nayomi, Brian still hasn’t received a bill because his tower is tipped to go last. He’s worried he’ll be charged £150k, if costs continue to rise as they are. 

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said she can’t sleep at night and has constant stomach aches from the stress. Emails the LDRS has seen between residents and Westminster City council accuse the council of overlooking vulnerable residents and state one elderly neighbour may end up sleeping rough because he can’t afford the new bill.

Another shows a couple had to change their wedding plans to reduce costs while a single mother is worried she’ll have to cut back on her son’s activities to afford the bill.

It’s a position Brian also finds himself contemplating. He said the works were affordable 14 years ago when he was working but are no longer now he’s retired.  He is afraid that if he sells buyers will be scared off by the prospect of a massive bill.

Brian Taylor, 70, has lived on the estate since he was six year old. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon


Residents have begun organising. A 150-member WhatsApp group started by Tamara and the Hallfield Residents’ Association are pushing back.

They’ve questioned the billing claiming costs for installing new windows has increased by 70pc and not the 50pc they were quoted by the council. They’ve also accused the council of shying away from robust price negotiations with contractors. 

They’ve accused the council of “historical negligence” and argue repair bills would not have been so high had the local authority conducted major work earlier and more often. 

Tamara said: “How is an organisation that has a duty of care to its residents in the borough the same organisation holding us to ransom?”

It’s a sentiment Nayomi shares. She said: “I shake every time we talk about it. It’s madness that this is happening on our estate. It’s madness our landlord is Westminster Council and they have a duty of care for us.

“They don’t involve us. They don’t consult us and they make decisions without us and I think that’s negligence.”

Westminster City said it acknowledges historic issues on the estate and is committed to doing everything it can to support residents.

Leaseholders have pointed out damage to tower blocks. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Works on the estate have been plagued with issues since they began in 2012. That year, residents threatened to sue CityWest Homes – the agency responsible for housing in the borough at the time – to stop the body billing them for what they feared were overpriced repair works, according to West End Extra. 

The same publication reported that refurb works were temporarily halted in 2014 after Westminster council and building firm Mulalley mutually parted ways after a damning report claimed progress had been “exceedingly slow”.

The publication reported a confidential report by CityWest Homes showed the contractor had failed to get listed building consent for parts of the refurbishment from English Heritage.

Works froze again in 2020 due to pandemic and in December of that year builders Axis Europe withdrew because of “business circumstances,” a letter to residents shows. The contractor would later return to continue to carry out works.

A Westminster City Council spokesperson said: “In 2012 major works including window replacement, external decorations, electrical installing and drainage works were undertaken at 3 of the blocks at Hallfield estate.  This was followed, post Covid19 period, in 2022 with phase 2 which saw works undertaken at a further 3 blocks. The costs varied between these two phases as they were different blocks, varied scope and subject to inflation.

“In 2023, a programme of works was scoped and priced for a further 3 blocks to have major works.  Whilst these works included many of the same elements they did differ from the works some 10 years earlier now meeting new requirements of the Building Safety and Fire Safety Acts and subject to current day prices.  Any costs provided to residents to date for the current works are based upon estimates only.

Nayomi Roshini poses for photos in the HartfiNayomi Roshini, 39, said what is happening to leaseholders is ‘madness’. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

“For our leaseholders, Westminster has a generous range of payment terms to try and ensure that everyone has an affordable payment plan and is able to enjoy their newly upgraded homes.  Value for Money is extremely important both for our leaseholders, tenants and the Council.  The costs associated with tenanted flats are paid for by the Council with the tenants contributing to Major Works through their rent paid.

“Leaseholders in the last phases of the major works programme, 4 & 5, which will also commence its programming soon, will be subject to the same prices as the current phase of works as they are to follow straight on and we have pre-secured a contract commitment to the same values.

Tamara Bradshaw, 42, says she has no idea how she’ll pay her bill. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

“As part of the on-going work to improve our Housing Services we are engaging with residents on a range of issues, including major works, to ensure that their feedback informs future service delivery.

“We acknowledge the historic issues on the estate and want to reiterate our commitment to doing everything we can to support residents.”

Hallfield estate was designed by legendary architect Berthold Lubetkin and built in the 1950s. It is one of several modernist housing projects in Bayswater designed in the immediate postwar period. It received Grade II listed status in 2011.


Get the latest news for South London direct to your inbox once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share this article