A Ramsgate pensioner says she has been driven to tears, forced at one point to sleep in her car and has been sleeping in a communal support room rather than her flat because of a continual thumping through her bedroom wall from heating pumps.
Ann Jewett has lived at Manktelow Court in Dumpton for 13 years and says everything was fine until the new pumps, which provide for the heating and hot water at 37 flats and a bungalow on site, were installed in 2017.
The 75-year-old said: “From then I have just suffered on and off with winter being the worst time.
“I have had a fight on my hands and went to Citizen’s Advice who told me to go to the MP. MP Craig Mackinlay says I can take it to the housing ombudsman. It just goes on and on.
“I have had so many BSW (heating) engineers in my bedroom, you wouldn’t believe it. I moved here for the peace and quiet but the noise is like having Concorde going through the flat.”
The noise also disturbs upstairs resident Karen Willis, 62, who moved in during 2018. Both women say they have made numerous complaints to landlord Orbit, but the problem continues.
The noise from the pumps is at its worst when the heating is turned up, causing the system to ‘thump’ and the placement by the bedroom wall means it vibrates into the properties.
Ann said: “I ended up sleeping on the sofa at my neighbour’s flat but then I got into trouble because it was during covid and there were restrictions so I spent two nights in my car instead until they came and turned the pumps down.
“I got to the point where I was sat with a bottle of vodka and some tablets. I’ve lost my husband, I’m not sleeping, I now have tinnitus, I’m 75, I have arthritis and I can’t cope with this anymore.”
Karen, who is a support worker, says she has also sent numerous emails to try and get the issue fixed. She said: “Sometimes it is so loud you can even hear it in the hallways.”
Ann has used the support room, next to the warden’s area, to get some sleep but says she just wants to be able to sleep in her own bed.
She added: “I feel let down by Orbit. I don’t want to move because this is my home.”
MP Craig Mackinlay said: “Ann has suffered from a total lack of care and regard from her landlord, Orbit Homes. I have been in email exchange with Ann for close to a year and have written repeatedly to senior managers at Orbit across that period to get a resolution to the issue of noisy pipework in her and her neighbours’ flats. The Housing Ombudsman is the next step.
“Unfortunately this is not the first time that I have had to battle for residents against Orbit and other major social housing providers. These providers are often held up as exemplars of housing provision. The truth is far from that in my seven years of experience as the MP for South Thanet.”
Orbit Homes say the issue was rectified initially but has now reoccurred.
An Orbit spokesperson added: ““We have liaised with our contractors who attended on Friday 29th July to investigate the cause of the issue with the pumps and will be returning in the next few weeks to rectify it.
“This issue was previously addressed but unfortunately has reoccurred and we apologise to the customers it has affected.”