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Residents vent their anger over 'failing' eco-homes
Furious residents voiced their disgust at sky-high electricity bills when they met the people behind their multi-million pound ‘environmentally-friendly’ homes.
About 50 people living on West Bowling’s Pavilion Gardens development – heralded the most environmentally-friendly in Yorkshire when it was completed in July 2011 – went along to a meeting at Lower Fields Primary School tonight.
Angry and frustrated, residents let rip at representatives from Bradford Council and Yorkshire Housing, demanding to know what was being done about their problems.
Of the 45 properties on Pavilion Gardens, 12 are supposed to be heated by a biomass boiler, with the other 33 serviced by Nibe boilers, which are specially designed for a Nordic climate.
But residents say both boiler systems are failing – and have been since 2011 – and they are constantly without heating or hot water, while retaining expensive bills.
David Shepherd, the Council’s assistant director for regeneration and culture, promised that the authority would recompense any money overpaid by residents in electricity bills. He added that it would come from a contract provision, not from the council taxpayer or from people’s rent.
But that didn’t wash with residents, with many demanding to know why the situation had dragged on so long.
Some told of receiving eviction notices and court letters for unpaid bills, others told of being without a boiler for months on end, while most expressed disgust at how high their bills were.
Gary and Rowena Gartland told how E.ON’s annual bill for their electricity and gas was £4,434. They said that in the last 15 days they had spent £355 on electricity.
A 22-year-old woman with a ten-week-old baby said her boiler had been broken for the past three months, but no-one had been to fix it.
Paul Orchard, who lives with his partner Sarah Murgatroyd and their three children aged seven, six and one, accused Yorkshire Housing of labelling residents of Pavilion Gardens as “dumb”.
Mr Orchard said they had spent £1,500 on three months’ electricity and poured scorn on the quality of the homes, saying: “They have put us in a house that is not fit enough for a rat.”
Denise Brown said her health was being affected. She said: “I have cold water, a cold house, and it’s causing me health problems.”
Mr Shepherd said it would be “three to four weeks” before a decision could be made on the next step for residents with Nibe boilers. He added that the problems with the biomass boilers were in the midst of being sorted.
He added: “People shall not be out of pocket for problems that are not of their making.”