Woman, 63, left in council flat with no hot water or gas since Christmas

A 63-year-old woman has been left in her council flat with no gas or hot water since Christmas after having moved from an estate that went without electricity for a week last year.

Icilma Warren of Deerbrook Road, Norwood, said she has been washing herself at her daughter’s home and has been forced to go out to eat or cook herself “light meals” on a hot plate. The property’s central heating system is functioning.

She said: “I’m not able to eat food – I’m on emergency electricity only because I reached out to Age UK charity.

“There has been a knock-on effect on my family life and going out. I don’t want to see people because I’m not going to put on clean clothes on an unwashed body.”

Icilma Warren has been living without hot water and gas since Christmas (Picture: Icilma Warren)

Her local authority, Lambeth council, is aware Ms Warren is living in these conditions. 

Ms Warren had previously been living in Lambeth Prospect in the Central Hill Estate. In July 2023 she secured a tenancy agreement to move into the new property in Deerbrook Road.

But after she packed her belongings – and some furniture had already been moved – a housing officer informed Ms Warren the transfer had been temporarily canceled because there was no gas supply to her new property.

Video shows Ms Warrens property pilled with boxes after her move was cancelled by the council (Picture: Icilma Warren)

Ms Warren said: “I was devastated, I had all my belongings in boxes filling my house and they canceled it. It was a health hazard for me to have them filling my flat.”

The Lambeth Prospect Estate had a mice infestation, the floors were crooked, and gutters had been left uncovered causing leaks and damp when there was heavy rain, Ms Warren said.

In December 2023, all the electricity in the estate went out for seven days. Some people stayed in hotels arranged by the council, others remained living in the block or had to find another place to stay.

Images show damp and mould in Ms Warren’s previous council property (Picture: Icilma Warren)

At the time, Councillor Maria Kay, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We have been working hard to support residents impacted by this power cut from the outset.”

A decant officer from the council advised Ms Warren to move into her new home, despite there being no gas supply.

She said: “They offered some of the tenants to move into temporary accommodation but half of my belongings were already in my new home. These are personal things and I don’t want them spread between three different properties.

Lambeth Prospect on the Central Hill estate went without electricity for a week in December, 2023 (Picture: Robert Firth)

“It’s too much for me, I just want to live a normal life.” 

Gas company, SGN Connections sent Ms Warren a letter stating that in order to install a new service pipe and meter box, consent from the landowner of the property was needed. Ms Warren forwarded this the council but has had no response.

Ms Warren said she has complained to the council a number of times and the conditions she has been left to live in have had a “devastating effect” on her mental health.

Lambeth council has been approached for comment.

Pictured top: Lambeth Prospect on the Central Hill Estate, Icilma Warren (Picture: Robert Firth/ Icilma Warren)

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