No heating for nearly a month
PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 December 2007 | UPDATED: 21:53 29 May 2010
AN ELDERLY woman from Dunmow was made to wait for a broken boiler to be replaced in her council home leaving her without central heating for nearly a month. Christine Rendall, 70, is a council tenant on Randall Close and was without heating for 25 days a
AN ELDERLY woman from Dunmow was made to wait for a broken boiler to be replaced in her council home leaving her without central heating for nearly a month.
Christine Rendall, 70, is a council tenant on Randall Close and was without heating for 25 days as she says engineer after engineer failed to fix a problem with her boiler.
According to Mrs Rendall and her daughter Jackie Flynn, phone calls were ignored and appointments not adhered to as they tried to get Mrs Rendall some warmth for the winter.
Mrs Rendall said: "When my boiler broke I rang the council and reported the fault, but nobody contacted me back.
"The contractor used by the council was scheduled to visit me on two occasions but failed to turn up or inform me. I subsequently missed a very important hospital appointment and a Christmas party."
After "losing patience" and becoming "totally disheartened with the situation", Mrs Rendall turned to her family and in particular her daughter Mrs Flynn who has been fighting her mother's case.
Mrs Flynn said: "We have been from pillar to post to get my mother's boiler sorted. It's disgusting that it should take that long."
She told the Dunmow Broadcast that she has written to Alan Haselhurst MP on the matter because her mother had been in tears as a result of her plight. "My mum has been really distressed by this. She was always a happy person but this made her feel helpless," she said.
In total 14 engineers from council contractor RJ Francis visited her home and diagnosed seven different faults, without fixing the appliance.
Mrs Flynn is a former council employee herself. She said: "What was needed was a new boiler. I used to work in social services where funding and money was always a problem.
"My mum was lucky really, she had family who could provide her with warmth in our homes but what if we had not been there?"
Cold weather can be fatal to people of Mrs Rendall's age as hypothermia is a real threat. Despite this she revealed she wasn't the only one suffering.
An 80-year-old friend of hers who didn't wish to be named has also suffered the same problems only days before.
Mrs Rendall said: "She lives by herself after losing her husband just like I did. It feels like we are being forgotten about."
Mrs Rendall finally had a new boiler installed on Friday, making her far happier for Christmas. "After contacting the newspaper and the MP the council suddenly did something about it. Until that point I felt like a second class citizen," she said.
Uttlesford District Council has stated that an investigation is well under way into Mrs Rendall's case with a meeting scheduled for next week.
A spokesman for the council said: "We are looking into the way the contractor dealt with this issue. Electrical heaters were provided while waiting for parts and when the boiler failed after repair we made the decision to replace the boiler rather than attempt to repair it.
"This work was carried out and completed on Friday.
"We are currently reviewing this case ahead of a meeting with the contractor."
l HAVE you been affected by heating problems or hot water problems in council properties? Contact the Dunmow Broadcast by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to us at 2 Angel Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 1AQ.