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Exning Court residents anger over heating problems as cold winter bites

The Journal has previously reported on Exning Court's heating problems
The Journal has previously reported on Exning Court's heating problems

Some elderly residents living in sheltered accommodation in Exning spent the coldest week of the winter with no central heating.

Relatives of people living at Exning Court first contacted the Journal a month ago because they were concerned for the welfare of family members living in flats there.

The Worcestershire-based owners, Sanctuary Housing, said then that ‘intermittent problems with the heating and hot water supply’ were being addressed by a full upgrade of the heating system which had started in late January.

But during last week’s cold spell, when temperatures stayed below freezing day and night , one resident said he had to wear his coat and wrap himself in a blanket to keep warm.

Michael Colbourn, 84, who moved to Exning Court last year from his home in Burwell, said that contractors had installed the pipework some time ago and had recently connected radiators in his living room and bedroom.

“They put the bedroom radiator behind the wardrobe and the living room radiator behind my bureau,” said Mr Colbourne.

“Neither of them are working and neither is the underfloor heating, so I still have to use the plug-in heaters and I had to wrap up in my coat and a blanket to keep to an acceptable level of warmth.”

Mr Colbourne, who likes to take a shower every morning, said the water was either cold or very hot. “I can’t use it if it’s cold and if it’s hot you have to judge the time because if you stay in too long the condensation builds up on the walls and stone cold floor, which becomes sopping wet.”

He said that along with other residents to whom he had spoken, he had given up asking when efficient heating might be restored.

“Our conversations are generally along the lines of ‘what disasters do we have today?’ If I had known then what I know now, I certainly would never have moved in here,” added Mr Colbourne, who is concerned that he will get an electricity bill for the use of the temporary heating.

Sarah Clarke-Kuehn, operations director for Sanctuary Supported Living, said:‘The heating system upgrade at Exning Court is progressing well, with our external contractors undertaking work in four different flats at a time.

“Although there was an interruption to work on site last week due to the extreme weather conditions, the upgrades in every flat are expected to be completed by the end of April.

“Prior to work starting, the opportunity to discuss the planned positioning of new radiators was offered to each resident.

“While the underfloor heating in individual flats will continue to work until the new system is installed, we also asked residents to contact our staff if they had any heating problems as contractors on site are happy to investigate any potential faults.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused while the improvement work is being carried out and would encourage residents with additional questions or concerns to speak to the scheme manager so they can be addressed.”

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