Flat residents living in ‘freezing temperatures’ as heating problems and leaks linger during bitter winter weather

Taxi driver Charles Gallagher is annoyed about leaks in is home at Holborn House, South Shields, which he says have been unresolved since November.
Taxi driver Charles Gallagher is annoyed about leaks in is home at Holborn House, South Shields, which he says have been unresolved since November.

Residents at a South Tyneside housing complex say they have been forced to live in freezing temperatures and damp conditions for months.

Charles Gallagher, 59, who lives at Holborn House, Commercial Road, South Shields, says that he has been coping with constant leaks from pipes in his home since November due to delays in repairing a faulty boiler.

The taxi driver has been living at the 28 flat complex - managed by Karbon Homes - for six years.

He said he had been left with no option but to use buckets to collect water leaking from pipes in the ceilings.

He said. “It’s a disgrace. We have had been using buckets to collect the water and have to empty them every hour and a half.

“I first reported it in November and they said there is nothing they can do about it as they are waiting for parts to fix the boiler.”

Holborn House, on Commercial Road, South Shields

Holborn House, on Commercial Road, South Shields

He added: “The boiler has also been going off regularly and it happened during the cold snap. I had temperatures as low as -2C in the house.”

Karbon Homes said they have put off repair works until the worst of the winter weather is over, but plans to carry out the work next week.

A spokesman for Karbon Homes said: “We have been working with our contractors for some time now, to identify problems we have been experiencing with water leakage coming from pipework in the communal areas of the building, and have been responding to these incidents on a case by case basis.

“We always take heating problems very seriously, and treat them as high priority.

Charles Gallagher is annoyed about leaks in is home.

Charles Gallagher is annoyed about leaks in is home.

“Our contractor has occasionally needed to respond to call outs at Holborn House, when the heating has not been functioning, and these have always been addressed within 24 hours – normally much faster.

“For a full repair of the leaks in the heating pipework, the system must be shut down and drained for 48 hours, hence we have tried to postpone this work until the worst of the winter weather is over.

“We have now booked in our contractors to carry out this full repair on the weekend of March 17 and 18.

“We will be contacting all 28 households in the building, to inform them of this work taking place, and to ensure they are comfortable and have alternative heating during the shutdown.

“Any additional heating costs incurred by our tenants during this period will of course be paid for by Karbon Homes.

“We would like to apologise to our tenants for the inconvenience caused, and assure them that we are taking steps to address the root causes of the problems they are experiencing.”