A cold month for council house couple

Eye, Suffolk. Barry and Betty Clayton who've had no heating in their council home since Christmas
Eye, Suffolk. Barry and Betty Clayton who've had no heating in their council home since Christmas

A couple living in a council house in Eye shivered for a month and suffered deteriorating health while they waited for their boiler to be fixed.

Betty and Barry Clayton say their boiler failed on Christmas Day. Contractors had been out five times in three weeks, fixing the boiler each time, only for it to fail again, usually by the next morning.

When the Diss Express contacted the couple this week, they said their boiler had been fixed on Saturday - a precise month after it failed.

Mrs Clayton suffers from mental health problems, and asthma. The cold is very likely to have contributed to her picking up a lung infection in early January. Her mental health also suffered over the period.

Mr Clayton told the Diss Express: “It is disgusting, actually.

“In this day and age, you should not have to live so long without heating.”

Their daughter, Tess Bell, who also lives in Eye, said last week: “It feels as cold in the house as it does outside.

“All they were offered was a small electric fan heater.”

Mr Clayton had to buy an oil-filled radiator to heat one room in the house, because the electric heater was not effective.

Mid Suffolk District Council is the landlord, and they use a company called Aaron Services to deal with repairs.

Aaron Services has offered a full apology to the couple.
It said: “Our resident liaison officer will discuss the situation with Mr and Mrs Clayton and we offer them a formal apology.”

Ryan Jones of Mid Suffolk District Council, who oversees the maintenance and repair of council houses, said Mr and Mrs Clayton’s experience was unacceptable.

He said: “We have had some issues with the contractor (Aaron Services) which we are ironing out.”

He said he was confident that those issues would be resolved soon. He said that the couple could apply for compensation for costs incurred.