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Tenants continue to raise complaints about heating despite promise of extra resources by Clarion Housing at Wisbech

PUBLISHED: 15:38 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 27 November 2017

Three housing complaints raised by Wisbech councillor Virginia Bucknor about Roddons Housing – now Clarion – have been resolved but others have arrived, she says.

“I have received a further three serious complaints,” she said.

Two are in her Waterlees ward and the third involves an 87-year-old woman in Leverington.

“She had her boiler condemned and correctly switched off but has been without heating for many weeks since,” said Cllr Bucknor.

“I have passed that to the local councillor who is taking action.”

Cllr Bucknor said: “This is clearly an urgent district-wide problem, where we are entering into the winter months and the contractors who have won the tender are simply unable to deal with the demand in an efficient professional manner”

She said the complaints seem to follow a pattern:

Engineers are being directed, for example, to Waterlees from all over the country

They advise that boiler parts are needed which they pass on

The parts order seems to go into a ‘black hole’: staff taking the engineer’s information are not following through with the ordering of the parts or any planned re-visit to the customer.

She said Waterlees has the most Clarion tenants and wants to know if they all have similar boilers “or are they all so totally different that spare parts can’t be centralised?

“I’ve raised this issue many times regarding the previous contract and before this new contract was awarded.”

She said it should be straight-forward management standard procedure of a service contract but the new contractor Morgan Sindall “does not appear to have these basic systems in place.”

She has now written to MP Steve Barclay, the managing director of Clarion, county council leader Steve Count and the Fenland head of housing.

Mr Barclay told her his office had received many complaints about boiler issues and the new contractor who took over the contract at the beginning of October and “obviously these delays are unacceptable”.

Cllr Count has told Clarion to “please come up with an immediate plan of action, even if there is a temporary solution followed by a more permanent one”.

Clarion has agreed that for the short term a sub-contractor can be used to increase the number of available operatives.

Their spokesman said the number of operatives has already increased from 17 to 28 and this will increase to more than 30 during the next few weeks so that Morgan Sindall will be better resourced to respond to emergencies as they arise.

Tenants have been urged to call Clarion’s contact centre on 0300 500800 “which will then not only manage the complaint but will also take action such as providing emergency heaters”.

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