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A family have been forced to live on a building site for months after their builder downed tools with more than £50,000 of their money in his pocket.
Carmel, 35, and Gareth Ponsford, 42, had paid an initial £30,000 for builder Carl Harrison Mills to carry out work inside their house in Stroud, Gloucestershire, including creating separate bedrooms for their three children.
The builder abandoned work halfway through the job in August 2021 after demanding more money — and has stopped all contact with the couple.
Builder Carl Harrison Mills downed tools with more than £50,000 of the Ponsfords money
He had been hired to carry out work inside their house in Stroud, Gloucestershire, including creating separate bedrooms for their three children
They have since secured a county court judgement against Mr Mills for a total of £53,263.95 that he owes them after the builder did not defend the case.
The couple and their children, two of whom have autism, have been left living on a building site for almost a year and felt forced to take the builder to court over the unfinished work.
Mrs Ponsford, a parish council clerk, said: ‘We are devastated. We work so hard and it’s all been what it seems like for nothing.
‘We just wanted a bedroom and safe space for the kids, because they all need that.
Carmel, 35, and Gareth Ponsford, 42, have been forced to live on a building site for months with their three children, after the job was abandoned by their builder
Their garden is filled with rubbish from the unfinished build. Wood, plastic and construction waste fill their lawn
A rectangular hole cut into the ceiling of one of the room has been left open, revealing insulation
‘Children with additional needs are a lot and it takes its toll on the rest of the family, let alone the parents. The kids just need somewhere that’s their own.
‘It’s been pretty tough. We try to count our blessings, but some days it’s tough if we’ve had a bad night with our son or work.’
The Ponsfords had remortgaged their home to pay for the work after wanting separate bedrooms for their children, with two about to start their GCSEs in September.
After Mr Mills stopped turning up for work and answering their calls, the couple turned to Gloucestershire police who said their situation was a civil matter and they could not intervene at this stage.
The parents were hoping to build three separate bedroom for their children so that they could have a space of their own. Two of their children have autism
Work tools and equipment sit on the side after the job was abandoned, with their builder pocketing more than £50,000
A hole in the ceiling reveals exposed insulation and a wire. The house has been left looking more like a building site than a home
The couple say that they don’t want anyone else to take on their builder
Some of the brickwork in their property leaves wide gaps, with wood exposed and boards cut away
The family say that their builder ‘ruined’ their lives and are unlikely to see their money again
They then applied for the count court judgment against him.
Mrs Ponsford added: ‘If we can stop just one person being in this situation then that’s exactly why we’ve done this.
‘We’re trying to make our family’s life better and he’s ruined it.
‘It’s unlikely we’ll ever see our money again, but hopefully nobody else will get hurt by this man.’
Mr Mills has so far not responded to requests for comment.
The Ponsfords had remortgaged their home to pay for the work. Pictured, reflective insulation installed hangs loose against the wall
A saw is sat abandoned in the house after the work was halted when their builder left