Romford family speaks of “disgust” after housing association Estuary takes 13 hours to respond to flood call

A Romford family who watched water pour through their brand new three-storey house because of a blocked gutter were told not to bother calling the fire brigade as they waited 13 hours for their housing association to intervene.

“The walls are soaking wet and we’ve got no electrics,” said mother-of-two Beverley McCreath, who also cares for her disabled mother. “The water was just pouring out of the plugs. It’s like it was raining inside.

“Estuary Housing told us from 9.20am that someone was on their way. We must have made about 50 phone calls and it took them 13 hours to get out here.

“We said about phoning the fire brigade and Estuary said they wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”

In the end the family, of Rushdon Close, did call the fire brigade – who identified the problem and spent three hours unblocking the gutters. “Without the firemen the roof would have fallen in,” said Ms McCreath, 30. “I’d like to praise them.”

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When Estuary finally turned up the family had been camping out in their garage for an entire day. Tired of waiting to be re-housed, they had arranged alternative accommodation with family and neighbours.

“We’re disgusted at the way we’ve been treated,” said Ms McCreath. “They should have someone ready for these floods.”

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Ms McCreath’s estate contains 28 six-week-old houses, all managed by Estuary. The housing association’s Jo Jones blamed the heavy rain for the delay in response time.

“The problem was caused by a blockage in the guttering downpipe and the rainfall backed up,” she confirmed. “The tenants called the out-of-hours emergency contact. Due to the extreme weather conditions, they couldn’t get out as quickly as they normally would.

“Our contractor, who built the property, is down there assessing it.”

Ms Jones confirmed three of the 28 houses were affected by flooding over the weekend, but that only Ms McCreath’s household had been forced to move out because of the damage.

Estuary has now found the family alternative accommodation in a show flat while their electrics dry out and their carpets are replaced.

Estuary was unable to confirm whether or not its emergency contact desk had told the McCreaths not to call the fire brigade. “If they were given that advice, we’re pleased they took it on themselves to call anyway,” said Ms Jones.

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