11:15 Tuesday 31 December 2013

Eight weeks of misery for family in 'freezing cold' home

Written byJORDAN DAY

Diane Binks, right, pictured with her daughter, Mellissa. Diane Binks, right, pictured with her daughter, Mellissa.

A broken boiler has forced a family to live in a “freezing cold” house - for around eight weeks.

Diane Binks, 46, says she first reported that her boiler was broken to Sanctuary Housing in early November.

But two months later and her three-bedroom home in Berristead Close, Wilburton, where she has lived for more than 20 years, is still freezing.

Diane, who lives at the property with her son, Michael, 25, and daughter, Mellissa, 19, said: “It’s unbearable - we can’t live like it any longer.

“The house is freezing cold. We’re wearing layer upon layer of clothing to try and keep warm - even in bed - but it’s still cold then.

“We’ve all had nasty chest infections and can’t shrug them off and I believe that’s because the house is so, so cold.”

Diane says Sanctuary has sent workmen out on numerous occasions since the issue was first reported but that they have not been able to properly repair the boiler.

She said: “Sanctuary’s service has been appalling.

“Half the workmen who have come out have admitted they don’t really know what they’re doing and none of them have been able to repair the boiler, hence we still have no heating.

“We’ve been using the coal fire to try and heat the rooms up and the immersion heater so that we have hot water but that’s meant my bills have rocketed.

“In the mean time Sanctuary are still demanding the same rent and that’s not on. Things are hard enough at the moment as they are.

“It also horrifies me to think that this could be happening to an elderly or vulnerable resident who lives by themselves.

“I’ve been on the phone to Sanctuary every single day since the boiler broke - sometimes even twice or three times.

“If someone rings them and just assumes that they’re going to deal with the issue they could quite easily freeze to death waiting.

“We’ve had enough now. We had a rotten Christmas as it was so cold that we couldn’t have any other family over to stay. We just want the boiler to be fixed - how hard can it be?”

Nick Hill, Sanctuary’s national consultancy services manager, apologised for the delay and speaking to Ely News on New Year’s Eve said an engineer would be visiting the home that day.

He said: “We are very sorry for the length of time it’s taken to repair Mrs Binks’ oil fired central heating. We have visited several times and tried to repair the boiler, but it hasn’t solved the problem.

“We have arranged for an engineer to visit today to fully assess the situation. I will be following this up personally to ensure Mrs Binks has her heating fixed or replaced at the very earliest opportunity.”

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