Sydenham couple fear they won’t have any heating for Christmas


A couple face Christmas without heating or hot water, after a building mistake left them in the cold for more than a month.

Julie and Christopher Burns, from Sydenham, fell victim to poor building work when their boiler was damaged as a result of work being done by Breyer group, which had been contracted by Lewisham council.

The roof of their Coombe Road home was being refurbished and fitted with new guttering when the builders damaged the flue of their boiler.

This caused carbon monoxide to leak into their loft space, so their boiler had to be turned off on November 4.

The couple are still without heating or hot water.

Health and safety inspectors discovered asbestos in the old boiler, and arranged for it to be replaced. But they failed to take the photos which they need in order to fit a replacement boiler.

Now Julie and Christopher must wait until December 23 at the earliest to have their boiler replaced – a solution they fear is unlikely so close to Christmas.

Julie, 64, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Christopher, 66, has diabetes. Julie said: “All we want is heating and hot water. In the 21st century, I don’t think that’s a lot to ask for.”

The couple need heating for when their 17-month-old granddaughter visits regularly. To cope, they use a small electric heater and have an electric shower.

These are much more expensive than their regular heating, but they have not yet been offered any compensation for the extra cost of having to run these.

The work on the roof has also caused a leak which has damaged a mattress and wallpaper in their house.

Breyer has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

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