“We aren’t listened to, we aren’t cared for, we are seen as the riff raff of the area, no one cares,” were the sad words of Rainham’s Orchard Village resident Sam speaking Thursday (March 1) after the estate was left without hot water and heating on one of the coldest days of the year, with inches of snow on the ground.
“This is wholly unacceptable, we are faced with arctic weather and many children are off school because of the snow, and now they have no heating or hot water in their properties,” said Councillor Michael Deon Burton, resident of Orchard Village.
“It’s always concerning how we have power outages here, we get told by Clarion that the pumps have gone faulty as this keeps happening, and there is no back-up generator.
“We have had three incidents of no power in the last two weeks, on one occasion it was out for 24 hours,” Sam continued.
Residents were angry as they woke up to cold radiators and no hot water to bath their children.
Sam who has two children aged six and three told The Enquirer: “It was freezing when we woke up, I dressed my children in onesies and we bought down our duvets to keep us warm. I couldn’t bath my children either. We’ve been sitting here in the freezing cold, shivering hoping the radiators will come on soon. If we still had our combi boilers then we would be okay. We knew how to fix those ourselves and they were much more efficient,” she said.
Residents are also extremely worried about the latest phase of properties to go up that will apparently all be using the same heating system.
“The next phase of properties will be completed soon, that’s another 200 properties all using the same central system, it can’t cope now. How will it cope with the extra houses going up?” continued an angry Sam.
“This system is failing; it’s going to be even more of a nightmare when the new properties are completed. When it goes there is no back up, that’s it. There are many vulnerable members of the community living on this estate, how are they going to manage without power? This is no way to live, we aren’t ever listened to,” said the upset mother of two.
Prospective Labour Councillor for South Hornchurch, Trevor McKeever, told The Enquirer: “Yet again the heating system at Orchard Village has collapsed, with sub-zero temperatures and record low temperatures recorded, this heating collapse could not have come at a worse time. When the South Hornchurch Labour Action Team were made aware of this problem, the team attended Orchard Village to see the devastating effects the lack of heating was having on residents.”
Mr McKeever spoke to one local resident of the estate, a mother of a two-year-old girl who phoned to report the fault with the heating, to be informed that her postcode was not on the system and that it could take up to three days for her postcode to be entered on the system and only then would a heating engineer attend.
She was also told to go on YouTube and watch videos on how to repair heating systems. The mother was so cold, her and her daughter had to stay at a friend’s house to sleep.
“This is an utter disgrace, to have no heating and to ask a young mother to watch videos to fix her own heating is beyond belief. We have contacted Clarion since being made aware of this and we were promised an engineer, yet they failed to attend again. We asked if they could supply portable heating until this heating issue was resolved yet none have arrived,” Trevor said.
Resident Hayley, mother of three, told The Enquirer: “We’ve been obliged to stay under our duvets all morning, they need to get it sorted. We live in fear of when it’s going to go again; this is happening too often, they need to get it fixed”.
Prospective Labour Councillor, Nicholas West, told The Enquirer: “Does someone have to die from hypothermia before Clarion will act.”