Storms lead to delays in social housing repairs

BAD weather is causing a backlog of repairs for Wigan's social housing stock.

Monday, 8th February 2016, 8:22 am
Updated Monday, 8th February 2016, 9:29 am
Dorothy Hawkins is not happy with Wigan and Leigh Homes, as the roof leaked in her bedroom, yet no one came to fix it

Wigan and Leigh Homes (WALH) confirmed that the severe weather the borough has been experiencing had led to a surge in the number of their residents reporting issues with their roofs.

And not only that but the delay is being made worse as the continued bad weather means there are fewer safe opportunities for roofers to get onto the properties to repair them.

Matt Roberts, director of asset management and development at Wigan and Leigh Homes, said: “We always endeavour to repair properties as swiftly as we can, but due to the severe weather we have been experiencing in the past few weeks there has been a limited availability of roofers and times when it is safe for them to work at height.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Although the rain has not quite reached the level that caused the Boxing Day floods, the borough has been battered by high winds and experiences heavy showers as storms Gertrude and Henry have hit the UK.

One dissatisfied customer was unable to sleep in her bed for a weekend after it took days for someone to come and fix her leaking roof.

Dorothy Hawkins, who is disabled and has learning difficulties, was then told that no one would be able to come and fix the leak for two weeks. In the meantime the leak had begun dripping onto her bed and left her mattress soaking wet.

The case was reassessed as emergency and someone came out that day to fix the leak but Miss Hawkins was left having to dry her mattress out against a radiator.

Miss Hawkins’ brother, Dave Hawkins, said: “We called on Thursday as soon as we realised and they said someone would come round on Friday.

“We waited all day for someone to come. He said he would get something sorted over the weekend but he didn’t. I called again on Monday morning and they said they might not be able to come until mid-February.

“But I managed to convince them it was an emergency case.”

Mr Roberts said: “Due to the programme of work already scheduled on Thursday when the issue was reported to us it was not possible to get a roofer to the property on the same day.

“The next day an inspector was sent to assess whether there were any major health and safety issues this would not include accessing the roof. The repair was completed on Monday.”