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Family left for second winter with no heating or hot water

PUBLISHED: 12:51 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:36 05 March 2018

Aerial view of Strumpshaw and Lingwood covered in snow. Picture: Mike Page

Aerial view of Strumpshaw and Lingwood covered in snow. Picture: Mike Page

Copyright www.mike-page.co.uk

A family has survived the record cold snap with an oven to keep warm and no hot water - for a second winter.

Stephen Willetts with daughter Melissa has no heating or hot water at their housing association home in Lingwood. Photo: Stephen WillettsStephen Willetts with daughter Melissa has no heating or hot water at their housing association home in Lingwood. Photo: Stephen Willetts

Stephen Willetts, 44, and his daughter Melissa, 13, have had a broken boiler since last winter.

Despite numerous calls to their housing association, Clarion, contractors have been unable to get the combi boiler working properly at their home in Lingwood.

It means they have to boil kettles for warm water and rely on electric heaters and their oven for heat.

“It keeps the downstairs of the house warm enough but there is no heating upstairs,” Mr Willetts said.

They have moved their bedroom to the downstairs living room and sleep under thick quilts.

“It has been absolutely freezing,” Mr Willetts said. “It is depressing.”

Contractors for Clarion first visited the house on Orchard Close in 2016 but were unable to fully repair the boiler.

“We had contractors visit and they changed parts on the boiler,” he said, “Then after Christmas 2016 everything went.

“They put a new pump in and the weather warmed up again and the hot water was working.

“Then since winter 2017 when I switched the heating on again it hasn’t worked.

“I’ve been emailing and messaging Clarion on Facebook; all I ever get is sorry.

“Nobody seems to know what is actually wrong with it.”

Clarion subcontracts to a company called Swale Heating but they have only just taken over the contract from a company called Morgan Sindall.

Clarion and Morgan Sindall ended their contract in February after just five months. It followed complaints from tenants about their boilers not being fixed. Swale has been charged with fixing problems in the interim.

A spokesperson for Clarion Housing Group said: “We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand for our services, but the safety of our residents is our primary concern so engineers are braving the bad weather to get to anyone experiencing problems with their heating and hot water as soon as possible.”

Mr Willetts said he is stuck in an “endless cycle of emails, Facebook messages, engineer visits and new parts all to no avail”.

•Pregnant with no central heating

A heavily pregnant teenager has been without hot water and central heating since moving into a council flat two weeks ago.

The 18-year-old, who is eight months pregnant, has to go to her mum’s house for hot water and manges to heat one room in her home with two electric heaters.

But there is no gas supply at the home on Mousehold Street in Norwich because the heating has recently been switched from electric to gas.

A new boiler has been installed but she has been told it will take three to six weeks to connect the house to a gas meter.

When she agreed to take the flat it had storage heaters but by the time she moved in they had been replaced by gas.

“It is a nice flat but it is so cold,” she said.

A council spokesman said: “Electric heaters were supplied from when the tenancy began, but it is disappointing that the utility company has been unable to fit the meter prior to this week’s severe weather.”

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