Housing chiefs send plumber to fix collapsed wall

Sharon Manders next to the collapsed wall ' she was 'gobsmacked' by the response. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Sharon Manders next to the collapsed wall ' she was 'gobsmacked' by the response. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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BLUNDERING housing chiefs are under fire for dealing with a dangerous collapsed wall by sending out a plumber.

Residents were left standing outside their homes after an elderly motorist ploughed a vehicle through a garden wall, toppling tonnes of bricks into the front yard of a housing complex on Arthur Street.

But when reported to Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA), call handlers dispatched a plumber to the scene who was said to “laugh, scratch his head and leave within two minutes”.

Nearly nine hours after the accident, the debris was finally cleared away by a council building standards team which also helped residents back into their homes.

Sharon Manders, 38, was left “gobsmacked” by Sunday’s saga which saw her scramble “from pillar to post” to get it resolved.

The mother-of-three arrived home from work around 1pm to find her doorway blocked by bricks.

She said: “My children are in and out of that front door like yo-yos and if they had been under that wall when it fell they would have been killed.

“I immediately phoned the housing association and told them how serious this is but they didn’t take any responsibility.”

Ms Manders said: “The council was kind enough to send people out at around 10pm to create a path for me but as far as Port of Leith Housing Association go, they offered me nothing other than a plumber.

“When he came out, earlier in the day, he said: ‘What the hell am I supposed to do?’. He just laughed, scratched his head and left after about two minutes.”

A spokeswoman for PoLHA claimed a “multi-trades specialist” had been deployed by an external call-handing service but witnesses insisted the tradesman said he was a plumber.

Labour Leith Walk councillor Nick Gardner rallied behind Ms Manders and her neighbours on Sunday after being alerted to the problem at Arthur Street by MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, Mark Lazarowicz.

“I was very concerned for Sharon Manders’ situation, it’s a horrible thing to happen and I’m pleased and quite proud at the way the council handled this,” Mr Gardner said.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of PoLHA, said: “Emergency repairs or maintenance works required outwith the Port of Leith Housing Association’s normal working hours are directed to our 24-hour response line which acted accordingly to the situation and sent out a multi-trades specialist.

“A PoLHA member of staff has been on site, addressed the situation and found solutions to the satisfaction of Ms Manders.”