Woman left without heat in ‘iceberg’ council flat on coldest night of the year

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Mandy Seager, from Blackley, Manchester, said she has had “constant problems” with her boiler for more than a month and was left without any central heating at all, for more than a week

Mandy Seager lives at Somerton Court, where she has had repeated issues with heating
Mandy Seager lives at Somerton Court, where she has had repeated issues with heating

A woman living in a council flat says she was left without heating on the coldest night of the year, forcing her to cocoon herself in multiple blankets.

Mandy Seager, from Blackley, Manchester, said she has had “constant problems” with her boiler for more than a month and was left without any central heating at all, for more than a week.

The 52-year-old said her flat became like an “iceberg” when a cold snap hit the UK at the end of November.

She said she had no option but to cocoon herself in blankets, but was still “absolutely freezing” as the coldest night of the year gripped the UK on November 29.

Mandy rents her council home from Northwards Housing, who manage properties on behalf of Manchester City Council.

Mandy said the cold has been “unbearable” while her heating has been broken
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She told the Manchester Evening News she had experienced problems with her heating since the beginning of November.

“This was the longest time it has ever not been working for and it was unbearable,” she said.

“I had to just sit in my lounge wrapped up in blankets or just stay in bed under the covers.

“It was actually warmer in the corridor outside my flat. It was like an iceberg.

“Nobody should have to be that cold in their own home.”

After a journalist contacted Manchester City Council, who manages Northwards Housing, Mandy’s central heating was fixed for the third time on December 3.

The council had also been called out on November 8 and November 30, but Mandy claimed she had tried to make contact with the housing provider for a week before.

Although the heating has now been repaired, Northwards Housing acknowledged there is a recurring issue with the heating system in the apartment.

Mandy claims she was previously told the “system needed flushing” before it then broke again and left her in the freezing cold for “almost two weeks”.

She says she was given a small fan heater in the meantime, which she says was “eating up her electric bill.”

She wrapped herself in bed sheets and throws on the coldest night of the year, where temperatures in Manchester plummeted as low as 1C.

Storm Arwen battered most of the country, bringing freezing temperatures and strong winds.

Mandy added: “I had to sit in front of the fan heater and then run straight to bed and get under the duvet to keep warm.

“It had been eating away at my electric bill. It costs a fortune.

“It was absolutely horrendous. It has just been so cold, it is just like sitting outside.

“It is the worst thing to be sat in the cold, especially with how bad the weather has been recently.

“It is fixed again now but I will have problems with it again soon and I will be left in the same situation.”

She added that she became “desperate to get out the house” when she rises for work at 6 am.

Manchester City Council has since responded to Mandy’s claims, saying that on both occasions she complained, engineers attended the property to repair the heating.

A spokesperson said: “Northwards Housing received a repair request from Mandy on 8 November and 30 November. Both requests were regarding the heating system and contractor Equans attended the property on the same day on both occasions. Their heating was reported as working following each visit.

“Equans have now attended the property again (Fri 3 December) and the system has been left fully operational.

“Unfortunately, the issue with the heating system seems to be recurring and requires air to be vented periodically.

“We understand that this is really frustrating – especially at this time of year – and investigations will continue until the cause of the problem is identified and resolved.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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