A HOMEOWNER who spent more than £10,000 on an extension has told of her fury after a building firm left it an unfinished eyesore in front of her house.
Joanne Sutherland, 48, hired TBS Constructions to add a utility room and downstairs toilet to the front of the property in New Ollerton, Notts.
The community nurse had wanted the add-on for her blind mum – so she wouldn’t need to walk upstairs to use the loo when she visits.
She claimed Peter Singh, in charge of the build, seemed “promising” at first, adding he told her she wouldn’t need planning permission because it was “permitted development”.
But Joanne claims the builder constantly failed to show up, making “reams of excuses” before pausing work entirely – leaving her with a giant block of concrete in front of her home.
“I’m just devastated,” she told The Sun Online.
“It’s literally got this great big breeze block building just sat there doing nothing.
“All the side of the house is covered in sand so I’ve got dogs and cats pooing on it.
“He’s got my money and I can’t fix it – he doesn’t communicate it.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that my money is gone.
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“But my garden is a mess, my house is a mess.
“It’s ruining my life because he just doesn’t answer, he doesn’t talk. It’s just lie after lie.”
Joanne said she went on holiday just as Mr Singh was starting the work, but he assured her all would be fine.
She said she had cameras all around her house and could see the builders weren’t turning up – and says the matter only got worse.
“I’d given him just over £10,000, we paid in stages – you pay when the floors down, when the walls up, so it was all a staged amount.
“He just had this knack of saying, ‘I need this amount of money to get this, I need this for this,’ and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
It’s ruining my life because he just doesn’t answer, he doesn’t talk. It’s just lie after lie.
“I’ve got three walls up, a s*** hole of a garden now and somebody reported me to the council querying planning permission.
“In the mean time every day he’s not turning up – it’s some bull excuse. ‘The exhaust’s fallen off the car, its raining’ – he’s got reams of excuses. Just silly excuses or ignoring us.”
Joanne went to the council to ask whether the utility room would need planning permission and is now in limbo until September when a decision is due.
She assumes, however, the concrete block outside her home will need tearing down.
The gran explained: “He said it was permitted development but it’s not, I need planning permission.
“Yes, I could sort it out but they are going to let me know if I’ve got planning or not by September 21 so I can’t move forward.
“I assume it’s got to come down because it’s on a corner plot.”
Joanne said she is in touch with five other couples who also claim to have had incomplete jobs from Mr Singh.
Together, they are hoping to get justice.
‘IT’S NOT FAIR’
She said: “He thinks he’s invincible and he needs to stop.
“There’s all these other people, he’s had over £180,000 out of all of us. It can’t go on, it’s not fair.”
Speaking to The Sun, Mr Singh refuted the claims, insisting he is just waiting for planning permission before continuing the job.
He said he had started the build without permission because an occupational therapist said Joanne’s mum needed it because she was blind.
He also insisted his reasons for not turning up for work were legitimate, including one occasion when he was “left for dead” after being robbed.
Mr Singh told The Sun Online: “An occupational therapist said crack on because it’s something she needs.
“We registered with building regulations. They came round to check the footings are deep enough, filled it with concrete right. And they said fantastic, crack on.
We’d crack on tomorrow. But I can only go by what the planning enforcement says.
“Then they had the planning enforcement come round in April. They said you have to put planning in.
“We’d crack on tomorrow. But I can only go by what the planning enforcement says.
“It’s quite wrong to say we’ve had £10,000 and run. It cost us £6,000 just to get it out of the ground with all the foundation.
“We paid for the planning. I’ve got proof of transfer to the architect.”
When prompted that Joanne said he did not pay for the planning application, only the architect’s plans, he said: “There was £238 owing – what happened is I got violently robbed and left for dead.
“I had three operations on my nose. Then what happened in between me recovering is I lost my sister. I communicated with Joanne’s partner.”
With regards to ignoring Joanne, he said: “I have communicated with her all the way along. For her to say I’ve not communicated with her is absolutely wrong.
‘I WANT TO DO THE JOB’
“I was messaging her yesterday morning, and the day before, and the day before. I’m actually quite shocked that she’s said I’ve not communicated.”
He added: “I want to do [the job] all singing and dancing.
“But I thought we probably would have heard from planning by now and that’s all I was waiting for.”
With regards to other customers Joanne claims are suffering as a result of his work, Mr Singh said: “I’ve had meetings with trading standards and gone through every customer with them. Every individual has been addressed.
“It’s basically because the customers had time on their hands – they were sat at home doing nothing and they said you know what, we owe them £15,000, we can do that ourselves.
“It’s been absolutely horrendous. First it was Brexit, then it was Covid, we had lockdown etc. I got Covid three times myself. Then I had staff member issues… I don’t think I’m on my own.
“We’ve communicated with every single customer, there were a few customers that got upset.”
Asked whether he feels guilty that Joanne says the situation is ruining her life, he added: “It’s not a case of guilt, we’ve done all the hard graft.
“We’ve built all the walls, built all this – she’s trying to say she’s paid £10,000 and nothing’s happened. We built the building, the building is up.
“Yes okay there’s a bit of sand here a bit of this, I’ll take it on the chin, I’ll go and clear it no problem. We have done the job.”
Councillor Roger Blaney, Chairman of the Planning Committee at Newark and Sherwood District Council: “It’s extremely unfortunate that this has happened to Ms Sutherland.
“We would always advise residents seeking to build extensions to make their own independent research into whether they will need planning permission and not rely on third party advice.
“Ms Sutherland’s request for planning permission is now being dealt with through the proper channels and our team will work to provide her with a decision as swiftly as possible following the correct procedure.
“The statutory timescale for this type of development is eight weeks which we will endeavour to meet. While occasionally additional information or negotiation is required which can make things take longer, this is less likely in retrospective cases like Ms Sutherland’s.”
Since being approached by The Sun, Mr Singh has arranged to meet with Joanne.
Citizens Advice said it was unable to comment on individual traders or cases in relation to Trading Standards.