Council meets with Grantham Riverside residents who have been without heating for three years
Emotions ran high this week as South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) met with residents at a housing complex who have been without heating and hot water for three years.
Tenants living in the council-owned Riverside flats, on Welham Street, Grantham, have been without sufficient heating and hot water since a new heating system was installed three years ago by SKDC which has been plagued with problems ever since.
Housing director Harry Rai was at Riverside on Wednesday to answer questions and update residents after the discovery of low levels of asbestos in the adhesive in floor tiles in some boiler cupboards led to further delays.
Around 20 mostly elderly, retired residents attended the second of three meetings on Wednesday. Some were emotional and angry as they spoke about what they had been through.
Mr Rai apologised for the delay and said the council was doing all it could to ensure the new heating and hot water system is operational by the week starting November 25. He confirmed that service charges will continue to be waived until the heating and hot water supply is fully operational. Costs also incurred by residents through the use of temporary heating and hot water arrangements will also continue to be paid by the council.
He said: “We are sorry and we fully understand your frustration. It is totally unacceptable.” But the apology was deemed ‘not good enough’ for some residents who say they have been ‘living a nightmare’.
One new tenant at the meeting revealed that she was never informed of any of the heating issues when she moved in to her flat last month.
She said: “Why was I allowed to move into somewhere which is not liveable? It is simply not good enough”.
Phil Gadd attended the meeting on behalf of his brother David who has lived in the complex for 30 years.
He said: “They are still talking about the end of the month at best for the heating. SKDC should provide in good faith an ex-gratia or compensation payment for the hardship suffered. I know of a 93-year-old housebound lady who has turned off the electric heater because she cannot afford it - I thought those days had gone”.
But other residents are feeling more positive following the meeting. Paul Dixon, 58, said: “Harry seems to be a straight forward and honest man and seems to have our interests at heart.
“I feel more optimistic now that the right man is in chargebut the proof will be in the pudding”.