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Christmas ruined by no heating and hot water, council tenants claim

A mother has said her family’s Christmas was “ruined” due to no heating or hot water - forcing them to mark the occasion in the cold.

Janine Ridgway, of Sir John Moore Avenue in Hythe, said her council-owned flat has been without a working boiler as temperatures began to plummet to below freezing last week.

Being left without hot water has meant that her son Kristion, nine, who has Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD, has been subject to sponge washes with water boiled from the kettle.

Kevin and Janine Ridgway and their son Kristion have been adding the layers in their home due to no heating or hot water. Picture Gary Browne

Kevin and Janine Ridgway and their son Kristion have been adding the layers in their home due to no heating or hot water. Picture: Gary Browne

The boiler failed on Monday, December 18, but that was months after a new one was due to be installed by Swale Heating, on behalf of Shepway District Council and East Kent Housing, she claimed.

Mrs Ridgway said confusion had arisen over a fish tank underneath the boiler and whether the boiler could be fitted without it being moved.

This caused a delay in a date being fixed, despite the tank being removed as a precaution.

Mrs Ridgway, 37, said: “Numerous parts had been replaced and finally on December 18 we were informed that the boiler was now irreparable.

“Kristion can only be washed by standing shivering in the bath' - Janine Ridgway

“Kristion can only be washed by standing shivering in the bath while we sponge him down.

“I suffer from asthma and have, along with the rest of the family, suffered from colds and other illnesses over the Christmas period.

“We were not offered heaters or any compensation for the inordinate delay and made a pretty miserable Christmas.”

The family's council flat was fitted with a new boiler yesterday. Picture Gary Browne

The family's council flat was fitted with a new boiler yesterday. Picture: Gary Browne

The family has been topping up with extra layers, switching the cooker on to heat the main rooms of the flat and has been using a small heater to get by, she said.

“I have been sending my son to bed in a tracksuit,” she added.

“It has been so cold, this is an old building with high ceilings, secondary glazing and our French doors don’t shut properly - it is just horrible.”

An East Kent Housing spokesman said: “We can confirm that a new boiler has been fitted to this property on Tuesday, January 3 and we understand that Swale Heating left two electric heaters with the family before Christmas.

“We would like to apologise to Ms Ridgway and her family for the inconvenience caused to them and we are currently investigating this matter to get a full understanding of what has happened.

“We will keep Ms Ridgway informed of our findings.”

 

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