London

Southwark estate tenants without water for six days

Rennie Estate
Image caption Most residents have gone without water and heating for six days

About 140 flats in a south London estate have been without running water or heating for the past six days.

The taps dried out and heating in flats in the three blocks on Rennie Estate failed after a water main on Galleywall Road in Southwark burst on Friday.

Resident Alex Young said people were "shivering in their flats" with "no flushing toilets, no drinking water".

Thames Water says a tree has to be removed to fix the pipe, which Southwark Council is resolving now.

'No emergency response'

The council said it was not told about the need to remove the tree, which was above the affected pipe, until Tuesday. Water was delivered to 140 homes on Sunday, it added.

Mr Young, who lives in Trevithick House, said since Friday he had called the local councillor and a housing officer.

He said: "Vulnerable residents with chronic health conditions [are] shivering in their flats as night time temperatures plunge to -3C, families with no water, no flushing toilets, no drinking water. Nothing.

"I've been ringing Thames Water and Southwark Council constantly to find out something, anything. Absolutely no emergency response."

A housing officer told Mr Young that the council would organise some fan heaters for residents, but he said nothing had come of the promise.

"The standpipes promised in the letter dated 12 December never materialised and no heaters have been delivered.

"Residents truly believe that Southwark [Council] doesn't give a damn, and as a fellow resident I have to agree," he added.

'Can't fix it'

Thames Water said it had informed the council about the tree on 11 December, but Southwark Council disputed the claim.

A Thames Water spokeswoman said it was trying to fully restore the water pressure and apologised for "the length of time it has taken to resolve this issue".

Image caption The tree needs to be removed to fix the pipe, but the work was delayed

"There is a tree above the section of pipe we need to replace and until it is removed by the council, we can't fix it. The council has confirmed they will remove the tree today so we can carry out the repair.

"We are supplying the flats with water from a different feed in the meantime."

A Southwark Council spokeswoman said a temporary water supply was being provided to the buildings but there were properties without water supply and heating.

Councillor Ian Wingfield, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: "The council has been dealing with this issue from the moment we heard about it and we are doing everything within our power to resolve it, we really sympathise with the people who have had to suffer the loss of water.

"We have called and visited all properties on the estate to provide support, reassurance and extra water supplies to residents affected by Thames Water's work to the mains."

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