Around 100 residents, including families with young children, living in a new tower block in Croydon Old Town have been left without any water supply since just after 8pm last night – on one of the hottest days, and night, in history.
Verde House, on Cairo New Road, close to Reeves Corner, is a new-build of part share-ownership flats and part social housing, managed by housing association Optivo.
Yesterday, with a Red warning national emergency in place across much of England, the top temperature recorded was 38.1C – hotter even than Cairo in Egypt. By lunchtime today, the Met Office was confirming that today’s temperatures had broken all historic records, with 39C being registered at Charlwood in Surrey.
Fearing for their families’, and neighbours’, health and well-being, some residents have appealed to Optivo for urgent action to get their water supply reconnected. But by noon today, with temperatures in Croydon soaring above 35C, Optivo had not yet got an emergency plumber on site.
Nor had the housing association arranged for any bottled or temporary water supplies for their residents.
“Optivo failed us once again,” tweeted one frustrated, and thirsty, Cairo New Road resident this morning.
“A whole building block with no water for nearly 10 hours, vulnerable people and children will suffer the consequences of this incompetence.
“No portable water offered, no help whatsoever offered.”
Rents in Verde House start from around £771 per month, with one- and two-bed flats in the block sold under shared ownership schemes at £302,500, with service charges of £158 per month, according to Optivo’s own figures.
According to the Met Office, the high temperatures of yesterday and today create a real risk to life, with all medical advice recommending that keeping well hydrated is a key element of avoiding illness in the extreme heat. The maximum temperature recorded in England yesterday was 38.1C, while the night-time temperature never dropped below 25C – a record high.
Residents of Verde House have told Inside Croydon that Optivo say that a plumber has been booked to visit the block, but that they will not be attending until later this afternoon.
Inside Croydon contacted Croydon-based Optivo this morning for a comment.
They said that they would get something to us by the end of the day. Optivo claims that the water supply in Verde House was reconnected before noon today – close to 16 hours after the first report of the disconnect.
In common with water outages experienced in other residential tower blocks, Optivo said that there was a fault discovered in the pump room.
“Our contractors were quickly able to restore the cold-water supply to all residents in the building.” After the residents went 16 hours without water, this possibly redefines the use of the word “quickly”.
In a statement provided by Optivo, they said, “Further investigation revealed a fault with the hot-water supply. Repair work is ongoing, and we hope to have it resolved by the end of today.
“We are extremely sorry to the residents affected. We’ll continue to monitor the cold-water supply to ensure it is not disrupted while we fix the hot-water issue.”
*Updated 2pm to add the Optivo apology
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