Councillors apologise to Grantham residents left in the cold
Leading councillors have apologised to residents of a Grantham housing complex for troubles with their heating system and promised they will not be out of pocket.
The pledge was given to the mainly elderly, infirm or vulnerable people of the Riverside, in Welham Street, who have suffered “nothing but problems” since a new heating system was installed three years ago.
Last month, the Journal reported how they have been issued with new radiators after being left with no hot water or heating since before Christmas.
Resident Philip Gadd told the full council meeting of South Kesteven District Council on Thursday that many complaints were made to both SKDC and contractor Liberty Gas in the run up to winter 2016.
Further complaints were also made over the past two years to Grantham MP Nick Boles and St Wulfram’s ward councillors Ray Wootten but these requests “have achieved little”.
Mr Gadd continued: “Recently Coun [Jacky] Smith was also contacted because the heating and water issues at the complex had reached a crisis point for some of the elderly.”
He asked if the council could explain why residents will suffer a third winter of problems and shouldn’t they be compensated for it.
Cabinet member for housing Nick Neilson said the original heating system was installed in 1979 and a new heat exchange system was introduced in 2016. The council was looking to see what had gone wrong with it and he said new pipes would be installed in April.
Coun Neilson said he wanted to apologised for the “errors made in 2016”. He added: “I assure you we have the most competent officers working on this. I will take a personal interest.”
Temporary heating measures were being introduced, which should mitigate matters until April, the meeting heard.
Coun Neilson said: “I can answer nobody in that complex will be out of pocket because of the problems.”
Deputy leader Kelham Cooke also said he “wanted to say sorry to the residents”.
He added: “We will issue contact details for senior officers should there be any issue. We will reimburse reasonable costs. I am very sorry for how this has happened.”
Coun Ray Wootten added he and Coun Smith had reported the problems “to the chief executive himself who reported it to the head of housing”.
He added: “I am in regular contact with [resident] Peter Clawson. He assures me that the residents are happy with the action SKDC has taken.”