Eco-homes go from freezing cold to swelteringly hot as grumbles continue at South Shields development

Vivien Forrest at her home on the Sinclair Meadows estate.
Vivien Forrest at her home on the Sinclair Meadows estate.
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Residents at pioneering eco houses who lived through a freezing winter because of heating problems now say their homes are too hot.

The Sinclair Meadows Estate, off Western Approach, South Shields, was built in 2014 with a range of innovative ways to store heat and keep energy bills low.

Residents, however, say that they are faced with year-round heating problems as temperatures plummet and soar beyond their control.

In January their homes- which are heated by a communal biomass boiler as part of the estate’s ‘green’ ethos – were freezing after the 
boiler broke down repeatedly.

Now resident Vivien Forrest, 67, says the recent bout of hot weather, combined with the homes heat-saving measures, has seen homes reach temperatures of 30 degrees.

Landlords The Four Housing Group say they are working on a range of solutions. Ms Forrest said: “Why can’t Four Housing come up with a solution to our extreme overheating in our homes?

“Every year we suffer 30 degree temperatures and, as an elderly person, this is dangerous for me.

“The eco homes are super-insulated which is wonderful as it saves on bills, but means that no air gets in to the building at all.”

Resident Donna Elliott, 36, who has lived on the estate for over two years, agreed.

She said: “We are having serious problems with overheating in the houses in the summer months.

“Because they are eco houses they retain heat too much during the summer. We have complained numerous times with little being done to help.

Bosses at The Four Housing Group, which manages the estate, said they have been offering advice to tenants to help them cope with the hot weather.

Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at Four Housing, said: “Like many properties built over the past ten years, those at Sinclair Meadows incorporate high specification insulation to ensure the properties are environmentally sustainable and energy efficient.

“We’ve been working in partnership with tenants on an ongoing basis to offer support and advice in coping with the hot weather, including keeping blinds closed and, when it is cooler outside than it is inside, to open windows on different sides of the building.

“We have also offered to apply solar film to homes to help reduce the build-up of heat for those who feel it is an issue.

“Once again we would encourage any of our tenants who require further advice to get in touch directly.”