MP Rushanara Ali furious over ‘Ocean’ without water and not a drop to heat
PUBLISHED: 10:02 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:48 14 December 2016
Thousands of tenants have been without hot water and winter heating on the regenerated showpiece Ocean housing estate in London’s East End.
Now a furious MP Rushanara Ali has reported East Thames Housing which manages the massive Stepney compex to the housing regulator after 600 homes were without heating during one of the coldest periods of the year with near-freezing temperatures.
The district heating system on the estate has broken down at least five times since October, leaving families relying on East Thames to provide electric heaters and oil radiators to keep warm.
Many were even advised to use facilities at Mile End Stadium, half-a-mile away.
The Bethnal Green and Bow MP referred East Thames to the Housing and Communities Agency during a meeting in the House of Commons when she called for the social landlord organisation to pay compensation.
“They have a case to answer,” Rushanara insisted. “I have asked the regulator to investigate why 3,000 people went without heating or hot water and were left to go to the local gym to shower.”
She has been inundated with calls and emails complaining about “the total absence of basic services” and has been in contact with the housing body.
The first stoppage lasted five days in October with four more stoppages last month, each between two to five days, families have told the East London Advertiser. The paper is waiting for a response from the housing body.
A leak was pinpointed to a ground-floor home in Killick Way, with water flowing up into the kitchen and living room. Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs visited the family living there after the “flood” of complaints.
Contractors excavated the patio and found a supply valve buried underground without a manhole access. It was the isolation value for the entire pipe system, which meant the whole estate had to be cut off for repairs rather than just one block.
East Thames apologised to the families for the problem it says was caused by a major leak in the communal pipework which took time to locate with specialist detection equipment.
A spokesman told the Advertiser today: “We did everything we could to minimise the disruption and supplied temporary heating to affected properties and made sure vulnerable households were safe and warm during the works, including installing electric showers.”
The organisation has promised “compensation later this month” for the disruption—in time for Christmas.