Mums dream home turns into nightmare as flood turns garden into muddy disaster

A mum who bought a new build specifically for its large garden so that she could make her young kids happy after a divorce has been left with a muddy mess after the developer refused to help with the flood-prone yard.

Emily Bigg moved into a new build home in Ormskirk, Lancashire two years ago and specifically chose a plot which she thought would give her children, now aged six and four, the best space to play outside.

But the dream soon turned to a nightmare when it rained and the garden remains constantly waterlogged. And to add insult to injury, Emily found the developer, Taylor Wimpey, to be either unable or unwilling to offer assistance.

Emily told LancsLive: “It’s better in summer. There’s just no drainage so it just gets waterlogged and then there’s no grass.

“It’s probably a similar story for a lot of people, not just in the garden but in the houses.

“We got told when we bought the house it was a two-year warranty for any problems. My house is shared ownership so apparently the two years starts when the housing association buys it so mine expired a lot sooner than I thought.

“Regardless of that, I complained before then and the response was just ‘you need to look after the garden better’.”

Emily, who works as a costs drafter for a legal firm, moved into the house at the Highgrove Park development in April 2019 following a divorce, after previously renting in Formby, Merseyside.

At first, there did not seem to be much of an issue as they enjoyed their first summer there but problems soon began to materialise during the colder months.

From then, the back end of the garden turned into a muddy swamp with the grass unable to recover from the constant flooding.

She was quoted four figure sums by gardeners and landscapers who conceded that any work might not even rectify the problem long term as the surrounding gardens slope towards the same point.

In the end, she has had decking fitted on the back third of the garden, thanks in part to the kind local trader who gave her a good deal after hearing about her problems on Facebook.

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Emily said: “I specifically picked this house because of the garden. It’s a good size and it’s south-facing so you get more sun.

“I know it’s a first world problem and there’s worse things going on but I shouldn’t be having to deal with this. I don’t have thousands of pounds to fix the garden.”

Emily said she was given a leaflet when she moved in explaining that she must regularly mow the aerate the lawn and that the advice was repeated to her when she tried to complain, despite her explaining she had done so.

A representative for Taylor Wimpey did visit the property but said it was not responsible for the problem. That stance is backed up by National House Building Council standards, which state it is not the responsibility of the developer to rectify any areas of the garden that are holding water that are further than three metres from the house.

Emily said: “There’s basically no drainage, it doesn’t matter what you do. It just never dries. If we were to have a week of sun, it would probably dry out but then when it’s dry because it’s clay it just cracks.

“I just think Taylor Wimpey should be held to account because the situations here and at other estates are appalling. It feels like if you make a complaint, no-one is interested."

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said that customers receive guidance on how to look after their gardens when they move into their new homes and that "we have offered some advice to the customer to help with ongoing maintenance."

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