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Pensioner Theresa Tait uses buckets to catch water dripping from ceiling of Thanington home

By Jack Dyson

Six buckets catch water as it drips into the council home of a pensioner more than a year after the leaks first began.

But 73-year-old Theresa Tait has been told work to fit a new roof will still not start until next year.

The news has further frustrated the retired cleaner, who fears damp at her Thanington flat is starting to jeopardise her health.

Theresa Tait in her leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey
Theresa Tait in her leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey

Carpets and ceilings have been left stained by the leaks, and she has twice injured herself tripping over the many buckets positioned carefully to catch the water.

“I went flying and bruised my hip three weeks ago,” she said.

“I’m also not getting my sleep because I’ve got to empty the buckets through the night when the rain’s heavy. It’s just getting me down now.

“I’m elderly and this is hard going for me. I can’t go on like this; I’ve had enough of it."

Having already caught a number of colds lately, Mrs Tait fears getting ill again.

Theresa Tait with her buckets to catch water and the stains on the ceiling. Picture: Paul Amos
Theresa Tait with her buckets to catch water and the stains on the ceiling. Picture: Paul Amos

“The water doesn’t dry out of my carpet and it smells where it’s got so damp,” she continued.

“I’m worried about getting ill and I’ve had a few colds.

“Because it gets so damp I’ve got to have the heating on to dry it out, which I can’t afford because I’m living on my pension.”

Mrs Tait says she has been phoning Canterbury City Council and East Kent Housing, the firm that manages the property in Godwin Road, “non-stop”.

The stains on the ceiling.Picture: Paul Amos
The stains on the ceiling.Picture: Paul Amos
Damage in Theresa Tait's leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey
Damage in Theresa Tait's leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey

In February, council spokesman Rob Davies told KentOnline the local authority was trying to organise “extensive repair work” as quickly as possible.

East Kent Housing has conducted investigations into the leaks and tried to fix them to no avail.

A spokesman for the company said: “The only remaining option available is a completely new roof to this block.

“We are also considering similar work to the four others in Godwin Road that are also showing signs of similar deterioration, albeit to a lesser extent.

“Invasive investigation and design work has been completed for this block and a budget has been allocated.

Theresa Tait in her leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey
Theresa Tait in her leaking flat in Godwin Road, Thanington. Picture: Chris Davey

“The tender process for a company to carry out the project will start shortly and work will take place in early 2019.

“We apologise to Mrs Tait for the continuing problems she is experiencing and can reassure her the new roof will fix this issue once and for all.”

East Kent Housing conducted work on the felt in her roof on Friday.

But Mrs Tait, with the failed repair work fresh in her memory, is not hopeful of a successful outcome.

“I’ve had so many roofers up here before and they’ve told me I won’t get any more leaks,” she said. “But when it rains it all gushes down again.

“I’m going to have leaks all winter again. I feel like I’m cracking up because it’s been a long, long time.”

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