Sidmouth resident left without proper heating for months on end

PUBLISHED: 14:20 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 03 February 2020

Lyn Gaskin trying to keep warm in her cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7208. Picture: Terry Ife

Lyn Gaskin trying to keep warm in her cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7208. Picture: Terry Ife

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A Sidmouth resident has been left without proper heating for months on end.

Lyn Gaskin trying to keep warm in her cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7218. Picture: Terry IfeLyn Gaskin trying to keep warm in her cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7218. Picture: Terry Ife

Lyn Gaskin moved into a council property in High Meadow in September 2019.

Since then she had to cope with one half-working storage heater to keep her one-bedroom bungalow warm.

The 62-year-old said the property averaged at about 12C when she woke up in the morning because the storage heater's timer was broken, so it didn't store up the heat at night as it should.

She only had one heater, which she can only afford to turn on between 4pm and 10pm, to keep her living room, bathroom, kitchen, utility room and bedroom warm.

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7231. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7231. Picture: Terry Ife

Miss Gaskin, who is also asthmatic, said she had called the council numerous times over the problem but keeps getting put off.

She said the council was waiting for the heaters to be ordered or delivered but she'd been waiting for months.

Miss Gaskin added: "When I went to view the property in June it was, top to bottom, covered in black mould and was really outdated.

"I was told it would be completely refurbished and upgraded. It (the heating) should have all been done before I moved in.

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7228. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7228. Picture: Terry Ife

"I picked up the keys in September and when I went into the property I couldn't believe what I saw, I just looked out the window and burst into tears.

"Water was leaking through the doors and windows. Green foliage was growing under patio doors. It took them eight weeks to come out and look at that.

"They have still not dealt with the damp.

"I'm living on concrete floor because the floor is too wet to put carpet down."

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7226. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7226. Picture: Terry Ife

Miss Gaskin said when she viewed the property a contractor said the heating was not up to spec but a council worker told them to put the storage heaters back up and see how she got on with it.

She said the council had tried to fix the leaks around the doors and windows with sealant but each time it had not worked.

Miss Gaskin said: "I have enjoyed central heating for 35 years until now. It feels like I'm living in the 60s. Even the dog shivers.

"What they are doing to me is wicked and cruel."

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7225. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7225. Picture: Terry Ife

She said someone from LEAP - a charity that offers free advice on energy saving - has also contacted the council to say the property was so cold it was hazardous for her health.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: "We have been made aware of the issues in the property and have been liaising closely with our contractors in order to ensure the works are completed to an acceptable standard.

"We remain committed to ensuring this is done urgently and we will continue to liaise with our resident through to completion.

"We can acknowledge that there have been some unacceptable delays in these works taking place and we are taking up these matters with the contractor concerned."

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7211. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7211. Picture: Terry Ife

After being contacted by the Herald a worker was sent to Miss Gaskin's home the next day, to measure it for heaters. But she still doesn't have any proper heating and has not been contacted by the council to say when she will do.

EDDC has been approached for a further comment regarding the continued delay.

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7202. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7202. Picture: Terry Ife

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7201. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7201. Picture: Terry Ife

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7204. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7204. Picture: Terry Ife

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7200. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7200. Picture: Terry Ife

Cold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7199. Picture: Terry IfeCold and damp home in Sidmouth. Ref shs 05 20TI 7199. Picture: Terry Ife

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