Search

Young families in Redbridge left without water for months on end

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 29 October 2019

The afflicted block of flats in Westfield Gardens. Right: Water damage in communal cupboards, a kitchen tap on full-blast and pans of water being heated on the stove for washing. Pictures: Google Streetview/Hannah Somerville/Forida Yasmin

The afflicted block of flats in Westfield Gardens. Right: Water damage in communal cupboards, a kitchen tap on full-blast and pans of water being heated on the stove for washing. Pictures: Google Streetview/Hannah Somerville/Forida Yasmin

Archant

A block of flats in Chadwell Heath has been in near-drought conditions for three months with residents forced to travel across London to wash.

The estate off Grove Road is managed by Chamonix. Picture: Google SatelliteThe estate off Grove Road is managed by Chamonix. Picture: Google Satellite

A block of flats in Chadwell Heath has been in near-drought conditions for three months with residents forced to travel across London to wash.

Residents at 20-32 Westfield Gardens, including young homeless families in temporary flats, have had their lives blighted by water shortages since August 14.

The managing agents, Chamonix, have provided bottled water but residents say they can barely flush the toilets or wash up.

To make matters worse, the building has sprung a series of leaks including inside the electrical cabinets and above electrical fittings.

Water is reduced to a trickle and stops outright at weekends. Picture: Forida YasminWater is reduced to a trickle and stops outright at weekends. Picture: Forida Yasmin

Mother-of-two Mel Farmham, 31, moved to Westfield Gardens from North Woolwich two years ago on a temporary accommodation placement paid for by Newham Council.

She told the Recorder almost all the occupants had complained to Chamonix - but to date, nothing had improved.

Chamonix, however, said it was trying to fix the problems as quickly as possible.

Ms Farmham, a stay-at-home mother, drives to a relative's home in Newham to bathe and is spending £32 a week on laundrette bills.

Mould growing inside one of the flooded areas. Picture: Hannah SomervilleMould growing inside one of the flooded areas. Picture: Hannah Somerville

She said: "During the week I'm just getting a drizzle and no hot water. It's cold all the time and completely off at weekends. You have to run a cold bath. It's really ghetto.

"When we call the company to say we have no water they say it's only one person complaining, and they tell us we are exaggerating.

"I'm so stressed. I work all week, and we want to have a bath and wash and do our clothes. London has got one of the best water systems in the country and it's like we're living in the third world."

Forida Yasmin, 40, works at a nursery school and has also been placed in temporary accommodation in the block by Redbridge Council.

It takes around five litres of water just to flush the toilet. Picture: Forida YasminIt takes around five litres of water just to flush the toilet. Picture: Forida Yasmin

On the weekend of October 19, she and her three children aged five to 13 went to Premier Inn to have a proper wash, costing £60 for the night.

She said: "My children went running in when we got to the hotel, going 'Oh my days, oh my days'.

"In the summertime it was really bad. We were having bucket baths. We've got to keep the central heating on for the children to keep warm."

Contractors have visited the property, part of a 300-home estate off Grove Road, at least three times since August.

Water damage to the communal areas after a leak in one of the cupboards. Picture: Forida YasminWater damage to the communal areas after a leak in one of the cupboards. Picture: Forida Yasmin

The issue was first thought to be an underground leak. The agent now believes high demand from residents may be leading to the pump station stopping - although the number of residents has not changed.

When the water supply is interrupted, Chamonix said, some people have been leaving their taps open, leading to flooding.

But one resident, Haitha Nargula, pointed out a leak was going "straight to the electrics" leading to concerns it could be a potential fire hazard.

A 29-year-old occupant, who works as a PA in the city, said: "It's a nightmare. Last weekend we had not a drop for a whole day, and no water until 8 o'clock at night."

Residents have concerns about the quality of the water that is still running. Picture: Forida YasminResidents have concerns about the quality of the water that is still running. Picture: Forida Yasmin

The water that is coming through appears to have sand or grit in it and drain flies have been reported coming through the sinks.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: "We are filling toilet tanks manually using water bought by us. Even my washing machine stops working mid-cycle.

"I feel that we are being fobbed off. Excuses are being made but months later no action has been taken."

Chamonix Estates Ltd is based in Hertfordshire and last year reported a profit of £325,000 while its sister company, Chamonix Property Care Ltd, made a profit of nearly £88,000.

A spokesman said engineers had visited Westfield Gardens every time an issue was reported and it plans to increase the onsite tank's water capacity in the coming weeks.

They added: "We have been keeping customers we have the contact details for updated via regular email communications and calling back residents where they have contacted us directly.

"We can reassure residents in the affected apartments that we are continuing to work with all the relevant bodies to resolve this intermittent water supply issue as soon as possible."

A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said the local authority was "are aware of the issues" and was working with Chamonix to reinstate the water supply.

A Newham Council spokeswoman said as a result of the fiasco, Ms Farmham's family will be moved out of borough next week and it would not be using the block to house homeless families again.

She added: "We take the health and wellbeing of Newham residents living in temporary accommodation very seriously and took immediate action as soon as we were notified of the problems in this block.

"We have been in contact with our agent to establish why these problems are happening and what the solution is. We have been told the issue is due to water pressure and the managing agent does not have a timeline for when this will be resolved.

"We will take action when our agents fail in their obligations to our residents and in this case, we implemented a rent stop by discontinuing our rent payments to the agent when we were notified of the issues. We will not be using this property to house any more families requiring temporary accommodation"

Anyone on the estate experiencing problems is asked to call 0207 100 6025 or report them online at cepims.co.uk.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ilford Recorder

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists