Couple left in the cold for 12 days

PUBLISHED: 10:08 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

PENSIONERS Phillip and Geraldine Barton were left without central heating for 12 days which included the cold snap which brought snow and ice to the district. The couple, who live in Sleapshyde Lane, St Albans, first experienced problems with their heati

PENSIONERS Phillip and Geraldine Barton were left without central heating for 12 days which included the cold snap which brought snow and ice to the district.

The couple, who live in Sleapshyde Lane, St Albans, first experienced problems with their heating system on October 23 and council contractors Watret came out to look at it.

Their engineer managed to get the heating going and said it needed a new part which he would order. After he had gone it went off again, although they did have some heat because their hot water system was still working.

But as the weather got colder and colder Mr Barton, aged 65, and his 73-year-old wife who suffers from arthritis were forced to huddle around a small fan heater for warmth.

Mr Barton said he contacted the council at least six times during the period when the heating was off and was told they would look into it.

Finally in desperation he contacted Watret on Tuesday and was told that someone would be coming out the following day to fix it. It was finally restored yesterday morning.

Mr Barton said: "There was some heat from the hot water in the bathroom but it was not going around the whole system.

"Luckily enough the house is small and well insulated but we had snow and it was extremely cold."

He added: "St Albans council has been very good to us and this is the first problem we have had. But it is annoying that we did not know what was happening."

A spokesperson for the district council said that an engineer from Watret had confirmed that a part was needed on October 27 but maintained that no other calls from Mr Barton were logged until November 4.

She said that neither they nor Watret were aware that the heating was not working until then and had the council been aware that the couple had no heating it would have been treated as a priority, fixed much earlier and fan heaters could have been supplied to them.

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