Edinburgh residents 'furious' after new born baby and disabled residents left without heating since before Christmas

Those living in Saltire Street had to wait days for temporary electric heaters.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:58 pm
Saltire Street in Edinburgh, where residents have been without heating since before Christmas (Photo: TSPL)

Around 20 homes with residents including a three-week-old new born baby, wheelchair users and pregnant women have been without heating since before Christmas due to a "major underwater leak" leaving freezing homeowners furious.

At least one of the flats, in Saltire Street, lost its heating on Saturday 21 December, but others have been without heating or hot water since as long ago as 13 December.

The development, managed by Residential Management Group (RMG), a subsidiary of Places for People , is supplied by Switch2 using a district heating system of one central boiler.

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Saltire Street in Edinburgh, where residents have been without heating since before Christmas (Photo: TSPL)

RMG "wholeheartedly" apologised to those affected and said they had been working throughout the holiday period to solve the problem. Switch2 added the issue was due to a major underwater leak.

Three-week-old baby back home, but without heating

Furious residents have slammed the management companies and said that any work that has been carried out has simply made the problems worse with contractors slicing through broadband cables leaving homes without the internet over the Christmas period.

Residents have also spoken of waiting several days for the management company to provide alternative but expensive electric heaters.

Stewart Atkinson, 26, brought baby Eve, now just three weeks old, back home with mum Dionne Hogg before Christmas but instead of getting to grips with new parenthood, the family have been forced to deal with no heating and no hot water.

“It is massively stressful,” said Mr Atkinson. “We went a week without having a shower and we have neighbours who are disabled or elderly so I don’t know how they are coping but we are having to wash ourselves with boiling waiting in the basin.

“Eve is congested at the moment which we think is the dry heat with the electric heater. We came out of the hospital with no heating and not hot water.

“My partner was told to relax in the bath but she hasn’t been able to do so. It has been an absolute nightmare.”

'It just makes me furious'

Another resident of the flats who wished to remain anonymous said the situation made him “furious”.

He said: “It just makes me furious and the worst part of it is that there is not someone to complain to and your complaints are not taken seriously.

“The fact you are relying on others and they can’t get the job done, you have got to question their integrity and acumen if they can’t repair something they are responsible for.

The resident, who has lived in the block said he did not realise what he was signing up for when he bought the flat.

He said even his family could not believe the scale of the issues.

He added: “I have friends and family that are just in disbelief about how bad it is.

“You have no rights given the way the scheme is run. When you are part of a private district heating system like this you don’t have any rights.”

'Major underground water leak'

A spokesman for heating and hot water provider Switch2 said: “There has been a major underground water leak on the site, which in turn has impacted the water pressure required to operate the heating and hot water system.

Some customers have been without heating for a number of days. Switch2 are engaged by the Factor to provide operational maintenance services for the main boiler house and the properties.

"However Switch2 is not directly responsible for the underground pipework, but we are doing everything possible to assist the Factor to rectify this underground leak.”

A spokesman for Residential Management Group said: "We are very sorry that some residents have been affected by problems with the district heating system and understand the seriousness of the situation, particularly at this time of year.

"We have been working throughout the holiday period to restore services and have provided electric heaters and have also been able to provide hot water.

"Around 20 homes in total have been affected. We are endeavouring to restore services as soon as we can and we will keep our customers updated.

"We apologise wholeheartedly to everyone who has been affected.”