Margate couple’s outrage after water supply cut off for 6 months as home deemed ‘derelict’ with huge bill demand to turn it back on

Amy, with husband Luke and their son, says the bill to return water supply is outrageous

A Margate mum says  Southern Water cut off supply to her home six months ago after the property was deemed as derelict with no occupier – and are now asking for almost £4,000 to turn it back on.

Amy Redmond and husband Luke bought the property in Millmead Road two years ago and have been working on overhauling it bit by bit.

During the week the couple and their six year old son live above their business, Margate Arts Club in Cliftonville, but Amy says the weekends are too noisy and so she and her son stay at the new property.

But in January the water supply was cut off. Amy says she has been paying bills with the most recent, seen by The Isle of Thanet News, being in January when she was billed for standing charges.

‘Basic human right’

Six months after supply was cut off and there is still no water at the property with Southern Water saying it will cost £3,616.76 to turn it back on.

Amy, 42, said: “Our house may look derelict, but it is in repair and still lived in by myself and my 6 year old son.  We have been paying for water and yet for 6 months now we have had none.

“The builders had found lead pipes, so we have modernized everything from our side of the house. The final task is that Southern Water turn the water back on, which is our basic human right, that we pay for.

“We were quoted £3616.76, to turn on a water tap from the pavement. The water is accessed from Kent Road, which is a quiet, wide pavement and requires no road closure.

“We have since had various departments from Southern Water come out and agree that this quote was ludicrously high and that because no road closure would be required it would be a simple job, which should be free.

“We have been passed between departments for 6 months, all giving us conflicting information and blaming other departments.   Meanwhile, we are paying for water in a house, with a child, with no water.”

Halt to renovations

Amy, who is also a director for Margate Pride and Power of Women festival, says it has been impossible to carry on with renovation works without access to water which would be needed by tradesmen such as the plasterer and the tiler.

She said: “We were supposed to be living at the house by now. When myself and my son stay there he is having to wee in a bucket and I have a stye because it is unhealthy. It has been months of stress, ill health and inconvenience.

“It is crazy that they would charge a little family nearly £4,000 just to turn a pipe back on.

“We live above Margate Arts Club but it is too loud for my son at the weekends so we bought this little house in Dane Valley but it needs a lot of work. If we have to stay above the club we’d have to close the business.

“We do up parts of the house when we can afford it. It will be lovely one day but right now it is without water.

“We are outraged that a company that paid £587,000 to its four executives in 2022/2023 and over £4,600,000 in bonuses is demanding a small local family pay nearly £4000.

“In a cost of living crisis, and with the company constantly dumping sewage into our local ocean, the inability to actually do the simple task asked of them, which is to provide water to a home is shocking.”

‘Health and safety risk’

Southern Water says having an empty home and a lug of water in pipes poses a health and safety risk to the wider network which is why if a property is empty for more than six months it is disconnected. It is understood Southern Water has been unable to trace a live billing account for the address, with the company saying the last record is from 2020.

A spokesperson for Southern Water said: “We’re sorry to hear this customer is experiencing a challenging situation at this address.

“Resolving the water supply here is complex, but we are committed to getting this home connected to our network once more. We are still investigating various costing options, and remain in contact with the customer about these.”

12 Comments

  1. It’s simple, really.
    Just produce evidence that the water bill has been paid. Bank statement, receipts or whatever.
    You will also have Council Tax statements to show that you have been living there.

  2. Southern water are 100% disgraceful company the sooner our utilities are taken back into public ownership the better.

    • Agree Bill and without compensation to the share holders,and Andrew quite correct ,but Southern Water has to move faster,when asked to by the customer

    • So, southern water have decided to disconnect a property because of the health concersn regarding water laying stagnant for long periods in a section of pipework that has , as far as they are concerned , been unused for a considerable period of time.
      The most obvious indication that the water wasn’t being used would be the bill not being paid and no consumption ( assuming property has a meter), in addition they’d have to satisfy themselves that no one was living there ( as they can’t disconnect an pccupied property).
      The owner states in the article it was only really used at weekends and its not too likely that Southern Water would have attended to check the property at weekends, just as its really unlikely that there were not a number of letters sent/left at the property.
      Of course it could all be some mix up where southern water have’nt done what they shouldnin the matter in which case they’ll no doubt reinstate the supply free of charge.
      Its very conveneient that the bill shown to IotN was in january when from the article the disconnection took place, where is the evidence of the bills paid before then?
      Its too easy for the householder to complain to the press and not give full and frank details, where as a commercial company is not going to ne aboe to do so, just imagine how many articles there’d be about unpaid bills if the utility suppliers did so?
      If i had to hazard a guess, the property doesn’t have a meter, consumption has been very low, owner has tried to avoid paying the standing charge ( because they’re not living there) , it’s all gone wrong, the big reconnection fee being basically the standing charges outstanding plus the cost of disconnection and reconnection.
      Is that too greter stretch of the imagination for people who only use the home when their own business creates too much noise to live with? (Which isn’t a problem if it doesn’t disturb others)

      • Exactly what I was thinking. Surely there is more to the story than they are letting on. All sounds a bit off to me.

  3. Middleclass, Two property owner problems . Their club creates a noise nuisance for them and their neighbours and they are fortunate and wealthy enough to move to their other property whilst disturbing the neighbours with the noise from the club . DFLs first world problems, believe me they can afford to pay.

  4. I wonder if Amy’s neighbours at the Margate Arts Club also have second homes so they too can escape at the weekends because it’s “too noisy”. The way she talks absolutely reeks of entitlement.

  5. Time to see what Polly what’s her name can do. If she can sort it before polling day, let’s vote for her

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