BY TOBY PORTER
Residents of condemned flats have been left freezing in the snowy conditions after a temporary boiler fix failed to hold.
Families living in the doomed Aylesbury Estate’s Wendover block in Walworth have had to cope with no hot water or central heating for almost a week.
They were told on Tuesday that the problem would be fixed – but then that an unexpectedly longer repair job would need to be carried out.
Residents are fuming at being left trying to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures – and having to boil kettles just to wash before going to work or school every morning.
Many say the boilers have been a continuing problem for months.
Hundreds of families are in temporary accommodation in Wendover, one of the blocks of more than 2,700 homes on the estate being demolished to build 3,500 new ones.
One resident, mum-of-three Fatima Newland, 46, has been shivering in one room of their two-bedroom flat during the freezing spell.“Everyone is complaining about it,” said Fatima, currently studying management at Greenwich School of Management. “It is very, very cold.
“About 90 per cent of the people living here are from ethnic minorities so it is not right to just leave it like this. It is not right to live in such cold temperatures.
“The blocks are going to be demolished in the next few months so the council does not seem to care about the people living here now – after all, the town hall is saving money on heating and electricity.
“I have called so many times asking for help, I have lost count.
“I went down to the housing department but nothing has been done.
“I can’t afford the money for extra electric heating – I am studying at university so not earning money.”
Another Wendover resident, Tammy Wallace, 46, said: “My bedroom is too cold to use – it’s Baltic in there.
“This has been happing most of the time since I moved here in August.
“We got a letter from the council saying the boiler has a long-term issue with a leaking pipe, and that temporary works have not fixed it.
“But these blocks are going to be knocked down so maybe the council just don’t want to be bothered fixing it properly.
“I was told I would get an emergency heater on Monday but it had not come by Wednesday. Every phone number you try , no one answers – they are all on answering machines. And no one gets back to you.”
Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said: “The Aylesbury Estate has a number of long-term issues with leaking pipe work. We had put in a temporary repair and informed all residents of the planned date to turn off the heating so we could carry out the essential repairs.
“Unfortunately this date turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year. Once we realised the weather was due to turn bad we reassessed the need for a repair but it was necessary to carry on with the work as planned.
“What we managed to do is significantly reduce the time the heating was unavailable.
“On Tuesday, we turned the heating off completely for the day to complete the work.
“All residents were told about the situation and emergency heating was available on request during this period.
“Teams were also making special visits to our vulnerable residents to ensure their well-being.
“The problem has now been fixed and heating and hot water are back on. I apologise for the inconvenience and discomfort this has caused and thank residents for their patience.”