Beds, Herts & Bucks

Oxley Woods developer issue £5m writ over 'leaky' houses

Oxley Woods estate, Milton Keynes Image copyright Katsuhisa Kida
Image caption The Oxley Woods estate was described by Manser Medal judges as "radical and innovative"

The developer of an award-winning estate has filed a £5m claim against its architect and contractor in the High Court over claims the houses leak.

The "innovative" Manser Medal-winning Oxley Woods in Milton Keynes, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP), was built by Taylor Wimpey.

It said complaints were due to the "design features" and "poor performance of contractors".

RSHP said it would not be appropriate to comment on the case.

Contractor Coxbench/Wood Newton has been unavailable to comment.

'Remediation works'

The 122-home estate was built in 2007 from prefabricated components, as part of the last government's Design for Manufacture competition.

But the National House Building Council, which guarantees work on new homes, said 19 householders had filed insurance claims for damage "caused by water ingress around doors and windows".

Chief executive Mike Quinton said it was extending its insurance cover for all homes on the development by eight years, from the date of the completion of repairs.

Taylor Wimpey said it was carrying out a "full programme of remediation works" to resolve the issues "as quickly and effectively as possible".

"It is our view that the issues have been caused by a combination of various design features unique to this scheme and the poor performance of contractors in the design and construction process," it said in a statement.

The estate won the Manser Medal, awarded to the UK's best one-off house or major extension, in 2008.

Judges said it pointed "the way forward to achieving high environmental standards in quality house building where design comes first".

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