Home sweet home for family - at last

PUBLISHED: 12:15 06 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: Emily Farrow with her parents, Mark and Jenny. The family are hoping to finally get the keys to their new home.                                             Photo: HELEN DRAKE.

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: Emily Farrow with her parents, Mark and Jenny. The family are hoping to finally get the keys to their new home. Photo: HELEN DRAKE.

TINY Emily Farrow was forced to make a 40-mile round trip for her first day at school after being caught in the middle of a dispute between two major companies. The unhappy four-year-old should have been just a short walk from her classroom at Sutton Prim

TINY Emily Farrow was forced to make a 40-mile round trip for her first day at school after being caught in the middle of a dispute between two major companies.

The unhappy four-year-old should have been just a short walk from her classroom at Sutton Primary School.

Instead she has been left without a permanent home because her house on the new Blaydon Place development in the village remains unfinished.

The developer, Bedfordshire-based Hazelmere Homes, claimed it had been powerless to solve the problem because it had battled for months to get water connected to the house and 17 others on the Sutton estate.

Water officials, however, disputed the company's claims saying they had worked to deadlines agreed with the developer last year.

Finally, in desperation, the Farrow family called in the Ely Standard and, within days of taking up their fight, water was laid onto the homes and Mr and Mrs Farrow were given a moving in date of September 21 along with seven other home buyers.

A further six homes were expected to be finished by September 28.

"This is fantastic news," said Emily's mum, Jenny, 26. "It's brilliant. You are superstars. I am just so excited I am going to tell Emily the good news."

Problems began for the Farrows after they fell in love with a three-bedroom terraced house on the new estate last Christmas.

Desperate for more living space, they put their two-bedroom village home up for sale in the middle of January and found a buyer within hours.

Hazelmere Homes wanted a 28-day exchange on the new £165,000 property and set a date in March for completion, claim the Farrows.

They were asked for a £1,900 deposit and handed over spending money they had saved for a trip to Florida to secure their new home, believing the cash would be returned in time for the July trip.

But when the moving day deadline came and went they started to worry.

Concerned that their buyers would pull out of the deal, they decided to complete on their sale in June and release cash.

They moved in with Jenny's parents and put all their furniture into storage.

"It's been so frustrating," said Jenny. "Emily should have been able to come home from her first day at school to her own bedroom and play in her own garden. But, six months after we were promised our new home would be finished, we are still waiting."

Michael Philips, chairman of Hazelmere Homes, said: "You are a genius. Anglian Water got everybody round to the site on Friday and completed the whole job. I am so grateful to you.

"We are considering issuing legal action against Anglian Water.

A spokeswoman for Anglian Water denied that it had "dragged its feet" over the work.

She said: "We had a design for the new main connection by September 2006 and it was agreed the work would start on May 21. We completed pipe laying by June 20 and the water quality tests were carried out and a certificate issued by July 31.

"The developer contacted us in June to ask if we could connect the individual properties and it was agreed that work would begin on August 20 and be finished by September 4.

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