FREEZING and frustrated residents are hoping an end is in sight to a two-year battle with the housing association they blame for constant heating system problems which have left them in the cold.
Mid Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has stepped in for a second time following the latest failure which has seen most residents without proper heating since last week amid plummeting temperatures.
Orwell Housing Association has even had to pay out for portable heaters for properties in Tudor Close, Hoxne, while talks have continued with contractors over continued problems with the air source heating systems and insulation, which residents also blame for high electricity bills.
Some who spoke to the Express said bills had been as high as £1,200 to £1,900 a year.
Tudor Close is a development of 12 homes, mostly rented but with a small number bought by occupiers on a shared ownership.
Dr Poulter said: “After being contacted by constituents last year about heating problems, I immediately wrote to the chief executive of Orwell Housing to find out what actions were being taken.
“Despite being given a firm assurance the issue would be rectified I was extremely concerned to hear from on Monday that the problems have still yet to be resolved.
“With the freezing temperatures of recent days, it is simply unacceptable for residents and children to be without functioning heaters and I have again contacted the chief executive to ask him to give this urgent attention.”
On Wednesday an Orwell director gave this assurance: “We will definitely get it sorted.”
The director, Wendy Evans-Hendrick, said a meeting was being arranged for yesterday in Hoxne at which contractors would be expected to detail what would be done to finally resolve matters.
“We share the frustrations of residents,” she admitted.
Air source heating is quite complicated and there had been linked problems, such as inadequate insulation.
This was among issues revealed in a report produced for Orwell by independent experts.
Orwell has repeated a promise to compensate residents if it was proven system failures resulted in abnormally high bills.
Air source heating uses outside air as its heat source, absorbing heat from one place and releasing it at another.
But among the Tudor Close problems is the fact that the outside elements have frozen. Some residents have said these should be scrapped.
Frustrated residents want effective and reliable systems and believe they have been constantly fobbed off. “We have put up with this long enough now,” said one.