RESIDENTS in Basildon's Brooke House could face up to two years of uncertainty, it has been revealed, as a war of words breaks out among councillors. 

On Monday, the Echo revealed all residents in the building face moving into temporary accommodation while work is carried out on a handrail in the building's stairwell. 

Essex Fire Service told the council residents must vacate while work is carried out as the repairs will shut off the only fire-exit in the building and councillor Andrew Schrader, responsible for housing confirmed it could take two years. 

Thomas Flynn, 31, and Gemma Enderson, 28, live in a tenth-floor flat which they claim is plagued by leaks and mould and Gemma says the uncertainty is "wreaking havoc" with her mental health. 

She told the Echo: “We are at risk of having to leave our home. How can we be expected to have a good Christmas with that hanging over our heads?

“The whole situation has knocked me backwards. But the council isn’t thinking about people like me.”

Labour councillor Maryam Yaqub branded Basildon’s oldest tower block, built as the centrepiece of the new town between 1960 and 1962, “uninhabitable” and “essentially a death trap”.

In an open letter, Mrs Yaqub accused the Conservatives of “obstructing” plans to relocate Brooke House residents to the nearby Acorn House block of flats. 

In 2021, the council’s then Labour and Independent administration allocated £6million to refurbish the building.

However, no work has taken place since the Conservative party took over control of the council. 

Mrs Yaqub said: “Fast-forward to now and the building is being decanted because of the council’s inaction.”

She called on the council to not wait until after Christmas to move residents out.

Mr Schrader described Ms Yaqub’s comments about the safety of the building as “nonsense” and “complete fiction”.

He told the Echo: “Telling them their home is a ‘death trap’ is categorically wrong and grossly irresponsible. What she’s said is patently untrue. I think she needs to wind her neck in, frankly.”

He admitted moving residents out of the building could take up to two years, before works can begin on the stairwell. However, the council is said to be examining possible alternatives.