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Tenants left without hot water for weeks

MCHG 12-916    No hot water for these residents of Gilbert Burnett House, Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead.
Stephen Spevack.

MCHG 12-916 No hot water for these residents of Gilbert Burnett House, Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead. Stephen Spevack.

People living in sheltered housing have been left without hot water for more than a month.

The vulnerable residents at council-run Gilbert Burnett House in Adeyfield – many of them elderly – have been forced to wash by boiling kettles of water and carrying them to the bathroom.

Stephen Spevack, 62, who lives at the complex in Long John, Hemel Hempstead, with his disabled wife, branded Dacorum Borough Council’s treatment of its tenants as ‘disgraceful’.

He said: “There are old age pensioners here and people who are infirm and we have to boil kettles of water to wash down.

“There’s a 93-year-old lady here, an old lady with arthritis in her fingers.

“These are all potential scalding victims.”

His wife Margaret, 59, struggles to stand up for sustained periods and is partially paralysed so has found washing at the bathroom sink particularly difficult.

Council spokesman Claire McKnight said this week: “We were made aware of a breakdown in the hot water system on October 15, at which point new water heaters were ordered.

“In the interim, we have had plumbers on site a number of times, carrying out temporary repairs to the existing system to make sure that residents do not go without hot water.

“Due to the nature of the problem with the system, the amount of hot water available during this time has been reduced to ensure that there is enough for all the residents.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time.”

But Mr Spevak said tenants have only had lukewarm water for a couple of hours each day after plumbers have visited.

The water was not warm enough to have a shower or do washing up, he said.

The new water heaters were due to be installed yesterday, Tuesday.

 

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