A ‘desperate’ woman is fighting to fix the heating in her tiny flat which has not worked for ten months.

Kathleen O’Kane, who lives in the Wheelers Flats on Church Road in Penn, said it is “disgraceful” Home Group has left her without heating for almost a year.

The 69-year-old, who lives alone, has formally complained to the housing association, including to its CEO, and had various engineers visit, but fears the problem will not be resolved before winter sets in.

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She was also fearful that one faulty heater, which eventually stopped working, could have started a fire.

She suspects her heaters are now ‘obsolete and irreparable’.

Kathleen is also concerned someone older than her and less able would not be able to cope with the ‘energy she spends’ dealing with Home Group.

She also contacted Wycombe MP Steve Baker about the matter, who did respond.

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“The landlord is Home Group,” said Kathleen. “Last December my heating issue started. I have two storage heaters in a small flat.

“At first the problem was intermittent, but the larger one would make a very loud bang and sparks would fly – it really worried me as I thought it might catch fire. But eventually it stopped working entirely.

“Obviously, I have been in contact with my landlord and various heating engineers have attended but I suspect that the heaters are obsolete and therefore irreparable.

“I’ve been through their complaints procedure, but that was ineffective. I have also contacted the CEO but that’s a very slow process.

“The latest development is that another engineer has an appointment to come [this week], this time from Dimplex which does sound hopeful, but I’m worried that this too will lead to nothing.

“I am 70 years old in a few months’ time and I think leaving an elderly person without heating for ten months is disgraceful. It’s getting into winter and it’s getting cold.

“People are coming [this week] but they’re just going to survey the situation. They’re surveying all the flats in the building.

“But if it’s going to be a big project it could take quite a bit longer. This worries me.”

She added: “I tend to feel the cold. The thing that worries me is, I’m quite fit, but it could happen to someone 20 years older and how would they have fought back?

“This takes quite a lot of energy, it’s on my mind a lot of the time.”

Steve Heywood from Home Group said: “I want to apologise for the ongoing heating issue our customer has had to face and reassure her that we are working hard to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

“The heating system in the block has been earmarked for replacement as part of a planned schedule of works and we are today (November 4) beginning to carry out surveys in each of our customers’ flats as a first step in this process.

“Given that our customer has been having ongoing issues with her heating we are fast tracking her replacement system to ensure she is able to live comfortably in her home as we move into the winter period.”

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