Burst pipe forces family out of South Woodford home

A burst water pipe forced the Murtagh family out of their Queen Mary's Gate flat

A burst water pipe forced the Murtagh family out of their Queen Mary's Gate flat

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Wanstead & Woodford

A family said it is is facing up to a year living in temporary accommodation after mould and damp problems in a block of flats which has been deemed not fit for purpose by residents.

Edinburgh Court was only built five years ago by Telford Homes as part of the landmark Queen Mary’s Gate development in South Woodford.

But residents have complained about structural problems, prompting an investigation by housing association Circle 33.

Now the Murtagh family has come forward to say it has been forced to live in hotels for four months since a water pipe burst in a bedroom ceiling in December.

Maria Murtagh, 51, claims hot water was left leaking for three weeks despite contacting Circle 33 everyday.

This led to an extensive mould problem, she claims, which doctors blamed for an asthma attack which hospitalised Mrs Murtagh’s 15-year-old daughter, Elisa.

The family has today been moved into temporary accommodation in Chigwell to provide disabled access for husband Terrance, 57, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

And Elisa and brother Daniel, both students, have not been able to access the internet.

The family said Circle 33 carried out an inspection of the damage and told them they could be held in temporary accommodation for up to a year while repairs are carried out.

Mrs Murtagh added: “It took Circle 33 three weeks to get back to us even though I phoned up to three times every day.

“It seems like they only took action after my daughter had an asthma attack and this is unacceptable.

“My son had to sleep in the front room for three weeks as his bedroom had basically turned into a sauna.

“Everyone in my family has been really affected by constantly having to move.

“Elisa is really stressed out and my husband’s MS has played up terribly.

“We are all sick of it and to be told we have to wait for up to a year to move back in is devastating.

“I do not want anyone else to go through this and Circle 33 needs to learn from their mistakes and just get their act together.”

Circle 33 initially implied that Telford Homes was to blame for structural defects, but the developer hit back, accusing the housing association of failing to maintain the building. 

Circle 33 has now launched an investigation into the issues in the block and said it was committed to resolving urgent repairs.

The Guardian is awaiting further comment from Circle 33 about this case.

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