Winter heating worries for elderly residents on Pleasley Hill

John Brunning-Goggin and Connie Perry front the angry residents of New England Way who's flats have had a new heating system that doesn't seem to work.
John Brunning-Goggin and Connie Perry front the angry residents of New England Way who's flats have had a new heating system that doesn't seem to work.

Worried residents in a complex of council properties are fearing another freezing winter as the continue their battle to improve their modern heating system.

Tenants living in more than 50 flats and bungalows on New England Way, Pleasley Hill, have been lodging complaints to Mansfield District Council about the eco-friendly heating system since it was installed in 2011.

They say the ground and air source system is failing to heat their homes, and with winter fast approaching and temperatures beginning to drop, many are facing the possibility of wrapping up in extra layers and blankets to keep warm indoors.

David Wood, whose father Ernest has been living in his flat since the spring, had been forced to call out engineers to fix the issue. He says the heating has improved, but is still not running as intended.

Mr Wood said: “My dad’s 81 and has had bowel cancer, but he’s still having to wear extra layers in his flat because the heating does not work properly.

“Why are they paying council tax when it’s like this? This system should have been ripped out a long time ago and gas boilers put in.”

He said the council have supplied plug-in heaters to those affected most, so has questioned why more permanent measures are not being put in place.

The system works by filtering heat through either the ground or air, which is meant to improve efficiency and remove emissions.

It was part of a pilot scheme to demonstrate new-fangled heating of the future, but residents, who approached Chad in July this year, said the radiators are never more than tepid, and can take ours to raise property temperatures by a single degree.

Resident Connie Perry, who first contacted Chad in the summer said: “We seem to be going round in circles, but it’s just not cost effective and costing us £5 a day because we have to keep it turned up.

“The council said they would get it sorted before winter sets in, but we’ve not heard anything.”

Coun Mick Colley, portfolio holder for tenancy services and housing needs at Mansfield District Council: said: “In October a drop-in surgery was held by British Gas for tenants of New England Way to discuss any issues they are experiencing with their heating systems.

“A majority of people are happy with the heating system; however a small number of tenants raised varying concerns.

“It was established that a majority of the issues raised by tenants could be addressed by helping them to understand how to operate the system to maximise the benefits, whilst minimising the costs.

“We have asked British Gas, which was the main contractor for the project, to address all of the concerns raised by tenants immediately, as part of their obligation within the contract of work.

“The council is continuing to work with British Gas and its partners to resolve the issues as a matter of urgency.”