Homes hit by heating failures

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IT IS feared council tenants could be left out in the cold this winter after a record number of heating failures.

In the four months since April there have been 39 central heating system failures in South Holland District Council homes.

This compares to a total of 48 failures in the previous 12 months.

In a bid to minimise the risk of any more problems during the cold winter months, the council’s Cabinet is to be asked at a meeting tonight to approve an advance of £600,000 from next year’s budget.

Members will be told the Housing Revenue Account central heating budget has come under pressure because of the high level of failures as many of the central heating systems have required immediate replacement.

If approved, the £600,000 advance would be used to bring forward some of the council’s ongoing replacement programme.

Problems have also been identifed with heating systems in some council-owned “non-traditional dwellings” – those not constructed of traditional building materials.

A spokesman for the council said: “The funding requested to be brought forward would also be used to undertake work required to these systems should that be necessary.

“However, at this stage, the number of dwellings requring this work cannot be determined until visual checks have been completed.”

The council’s central heating programme is a continuous contract, which means some systems replacements are carried out during the winter months.

But residents have been reassured that disruption will be kept to a minimum and temporary heating and hot water will be provided where necessary.