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Longhurst Group home in Uppingham contaminated with sewage





A woman and her daughter have been left living with a kitchen contaminated by sewage.

Karen Pearce reported the issue to landlord Longhurst Group back in March.

She had noticed a nasty smell in the kitchen of her home in Branston Road, Uppingham.

The soil stack in Karen's kitchen and a box of belongings that has been contaminated
The soil stack in Karen's kitchen and a box of belongings that has been contaminated

On closer inspection a cupboard was riddled with black mould and the pipe within it was leaking.

The pipe carries toilet waste from her block of flats to the sewer, and a surveyor has identified that a blockage in the sewer pipe is forcing waste back up the soil stack.

As a result, Karen has moved salvagable items into the living room and has sealed the kitchen door with plastic to minimise the odour coming through.

Karen has sealed up the kitchen door to minimise the odour coming through, while their food is stored in the living room
Karen has sealed up the kitchen door to minimise the odour coming through, while their food is stored in the living room

Karen said: “It’s unpleasant and I was upset to find a box with my daughter’s childhood teddies, which we’d kept for sentimental reasons, had been contaminated.

Karen lives with a daughter who is in her 20s and has autism. This makes her less resilient to changes in routine.

Despite this, Karen has had to alter their daily lives so they don’t use the kitchen, and says they have instead been using the toaster and kettle in the front room as a substitute for the cooker.

Karen has not been well recently and has a suppressed immune system, having been treated for two bouts of cancer, and was not impressed by Longhurst’s interim offer of Just Eat vouchers, enabling them to buy hot food in the form of takeaways.

Karen's home has been turned upside down by having to store the contents of the kitchen in the living room
Karen's home has been turned upside down by having to store the contents of the kitchen in the living room

She is also concerned that the ‘streaming noses and eyes’ she and her daughter are suffering is a result of sewage contamination in their home.

Karen would prefer to move to a different property for good, but says Rutland Housing Options, the social housing arm of Rutland County Council, has stopped communicating with her over this.

A Longhurst Group spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that our customer is experiencing these issues in their home and would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused the family.

Karen has been told damp in her flat could be the result of the sewage pipe backing up below
Karen has been told damp in her flat could be the result of the sewage pipe backing up below

“The property was recently inspected by the local authority and our latest understanding is that inspectors don't consider it to be a category 1 hazard and found it to be habitable. However, we’re aware of some areas of damp which have been caused by a leaking soil stack and we’re addressing this. This was further complicated because the soil stack runs from the top floor of the building which means we needed to gain access to other customers’ homes to carry out the repair work. We've now managed to access these properties and have identified the blockage which has led to these issues and work has been booked in to deal with this.

"The kitchen in the property hasn't been deemed as hazardous, however we've provided our customer with vouchers for her to purchase food should she prefer not to use the kitchen while the repairs await completion.

“Due to their medical needs we’ve added the family to our list for a future transfer to an alternative property. To ensure we can find a suitable home for them as quickly as possible we’ve widened their chosen area to live.”

They added: “We appreciate this situation isn’t ideal for our customer and we’ll continue to keep in regular contact with them while we arrange and carry out the repairs needed.”

A spokesperson for Rutland County Council said: “Our housing teams are working with the Longhurst Group to make sure this tenant’s housing application is given the right priority, based on their circumstances.

“The tenant has been awarded relevant category hazard points and is on the housing register for a move, should this be needed, as Longhurst are intending to prioritise the works required. As the council does not own any of the social housing in Rutland, we can only provide alternative accommodation via the housing register, should a suitable property become available.

“Our teams are in regular contact with the tenant and all correspondence is being responded to. There has also been a recent visit to the property by the council’s housing inspection team, which confirmed that the kitchen is appropriate for use and is satisfied that Longhurst are prioritising the works required.”

According to Karen, a surveyor who inspected the property this week said she should not use the kitchen. Karen also said Longhurst has apologised to her in a letter and said it is paying her £360 compensation.



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