A couple from Godmanchester returned from a holiday in Spain to find valuable antiques and treasured family possessions they were storing in a rented garage had been demolished after a housing association sent in the bulldozers.
Steve Lamming, 59, and his wife Heidi, of Stokes Drive, were in the process of moving to a larger property and using the garage at Langley Court, St Ives, to store furniture and other items, including a computer, ornaments, crystal glassware and a 200-year-old nursing chair that was a family heirloom. Mr Lamming went round to the garage on May 6 and was shocked to find a pile of rubble where the garage once stood and hoardings around the site. Despite several meetings, phone calls and emails, no-one from the landlord, Luminus, has been able to tell him what happened to the contents, which were worth thousands of pounds.
“I contacted Luminus and they fobbed me off and eventually said the contents were the responsibility of the demolition contractor. What I don’t understand is why, when the contractor opened the door and saw what was in there, they continued to bulldoze the garage. No-one at Luminous seems to be able to tell me what happened to the contents.”
Mr Lamming, who has been renting the garage since 2007, moved to temporary accommodation before a permanent move to Godmanchester in June and admits he failed to inform Luminus he was moving house.
Luminus sent him a notice to quit the garage in May 2014, which unfortunately went to his old address. He was one of two tenants who failed to respond to the notice to quit, but the demolition went ahead anyway in January.
“Surely that should have been enough for them to contact me via other means. I have lost valuable antiques, personal memorabilia and equipment of significant value. If I had known their intent, I would have moved to another facility. They have treated me with contempt.”
Mr Lamming has attended several meetings staff at Luminus, but has still not been told what happened to his possessions, but Luminus has now refunded £322.40, which is for over-payment of rent for the garage.
In a statement issued to The Hunts Post, Luminus apologised to Mr Lamming, but have been unable to confirm what happened to the items he was storing in the garage.
The statement read: “On May 22, 2014 Luminus sent a ‘notice to quit’ for the garage at 6 Langley Court, St Ives to the home address of the person renting the garage. Having had no response to the notice the garage was emptied.
On January 27, 2015, a second letter was sent advising that the garage had been cleared. On February 4, 2015 a follow-up letter was sent. No response was received. Then, on May 6, 2015, Mr Lamming contacted Luminus to state that he had been in Spain, but had not informed Luminus of his change of address.
Luminus apologises to Mr Lamming but since he did not make contact with the company for almost 12 months in response to the enquiries sent to him and, having failed to tell us that he had moved, it was not possible for contact to be made with him to collect any items from the garage that he might have wished to retain.”