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Couple left homeless after water company floods 19th century cottage by connecting mains to the wrong pipe

PUBLISHED: 08:42 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 09 February 2017

Gordon Parsons has had to live in a hotel room for the past 3 months after his home in Stokesby was flooded.  PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Gordon Parsons has had to live in a hotel room for the past 3 months after his home in Stokesby was flooded. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A couple were left homeless for three months after a water company flooded their 19th century cottage by accident.

Gordon and Susan Parsons’ home suffered £30,000 worth of damage when a redundant pipe under their property was connected to the water mains.

It resulted in them having to spend several weeks - including Christmas and New Year’s Eve - living inside Premier Inns at Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

While the cost of the damage to their Stokesby home was covered by insurance, they have still been left with a bill of almost £1,000.

Meanwhile, Essex and Suffolk Water, which was responsible for the incident, is allegedly refusing to accept liability.

Mr Parsons, 64, said he had been working from home on November 16 last year while the company was laying pipe work across the village.

“When they got to our cottage,” he said. “They dug a hole, found a pipe and connected it up. I went downstairs for a cup of tea and thought the carpet looked a bit shiny. I then went into the lounge and could see water everywhere. It sounded like a waterfall.”

The company had connected the mains to an uncapped pipe which stopped underneath Mr Parson’s kitchen. Within minutes the water had filled up the foundations of the cottage, which was built in 1870, and pushed through the wooden floorboards.

Due to the amount of damage, Mr Parsons and his wife had to move out into a Premier Inn in Great Yarmouth.

They spent the next three months switching between bed and breakfasts in Stokesby and Norwich before finally returning home two weeks ago.

Because Essex and Suffolk Water has not accepted liability, their home insurance premium has increased by £97. They have also been left with a £250 excess bill, as well as expenses from their time living in B&Bs.

“The guy [from the water company] said it was entirely their fault and that I would not be left in the lurch,” Mr Parsons claimed. “But they have done exactly that”.

A spokesman for Essex and Suffolk Water said: “We are currently communicating with the agents acting on behalf of the insurers of the property and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. As these discussions are ongoing it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time. “

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