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Appendix 1 - Flooding in Thatcham

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Appendix 1 - Flooding in Thatcham Powered By Docstoc
					          Flooding in
           Thatcham
    July 2007 – September 2008
           A year in perspective


                                               Appendix 1
Resident’s comments on drainage, insurance,
   rebuilding and temporary accommodation




    Consultant‟s report to Thatcham Town Council, September 2008


                                                    Sue Everett
                                              122 Derwent Road
                                                     Thatcham
                                                     RG19 3UP

                                             Tel: 01635 847164
                        admin.thatchamflooding@googlemail.com
                         FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




This Annex is a list of unedited comments             7.     We have a loft conversion therefore we
received by residents. The majority were                     moved our surviving possessions
provided at meetings held for west and east                  upstairs. We did not move out. Once
Thatcham during a workshop session when                      the ground floor was dry we returned to
residents were invited to write their                        this space.
comments on coloured post-it notes.
                                                      8.     Rehoused - on guidance from insurance
Additional comments were received by                         company I found my own temporary
email, face-to-face in discussion at various                 house. We moved in on the 1st August
times and at a meeting held specifically for                 07. I sat with Yellow Pages until I found
residents of Kennet Heath.                                   a property. Having a dog caused
                                                             problems.
Where derogatory comments regarding
                                                      9.     Temporary accommodation in caravan
insurers, loss adjusters and builders are
                                                             for cooking, eating and daytime living.
made, the names of the companies have
                                                             Upstairs of property was habitable.
been removed. Where positive comments
have been made, names of companies have               10.    July 20 to Dec 20 lived upstairs, then put
been retained. However, some of the                          up in hotel. Then insurers bought us a
derogatory comments may also have                            brand new mobile home. Excellent
referred to some of the latter.                              service (Abbey National). We are
                                                             covered for accommodation in our policy.

Rehousing and temporary                               11.    Could not be rehoused. Stress of living
accommodation                                                upstairs in 2 rooms. No assistance from
                                                             anyone. No rate reduction.
1.    Still not back in house after floods.
                                                      12.    Was declined and told had to find own
2.    No local properties available to rent /                place to stay. Stayed with my parent in
      needed to be local for work/schools.                   reading with 2 small children for 14
      Told shouldn‟t be living in property. No               weeks.
      help. Found our own caravan. Hard
      living day by day – food, cooking etc.          13.    Not given choice of moving out. Lots of
                                                             promises by Loss Adjuster but no help.
3.    Rehousing was great except our                         Living and cooking in a 6x7 ft spare
      removers, X Removals, broke furniture,                 bedroom, 1 microwave, 1 kettle, 1
      badly repaired it then refused to pay up               toaster. All other space taken up by
      compensation. Sovereign Housing don‟t                  boxes.
      want to know. Xx does not answer the
      phone or emails.                                14.    Cost of transport from Enborne rented
                                                             accommodation to Newbury from
4.    Rehoused. V. difficult to find suitable                Thatcham. Wife does not drive. Taxis
      accommodation for all family and dog.                  required for short trips.
      Insurance co initially reluctant to pay.
      Now paid 6 months up front. X                   15.    Temp accommodation costly to live in
      Removals excellent for removals. BT –                  caravan. Freezing in winter.
      Nightmare.
                                                      16.    Timely payment of rent in relation to
5.    Static caravan terrible. -5 degrees C                  temporary accommodation by insurance
      outside. Not insulated.                                company.

6.    Caravan supplied by insurance company           17.    Council were very helpful in reimbursing
      – used caravan for about 6 months only.                for Council Tax whilst living in a caravan.
      Slept indoors at night.
                                                      18.    Rented accommodation ok. No probs
                                                             paying for rent by insurance co.




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                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




19.   Insurance co. paid for 8 months.                 31.   Hard to find suitable accommodation in
      Struggled to find free available property              flood situation; Need to be self reliant
      even though we took anything going.                    and find own accommodation.
      Out of house 10 months. 1st 5 months
      staying with relatives whilst waiting for        32.   Rehousing via Sovereign – no help then
      insurance co. to agree to pay then                     16 weeks – Great Barn Court. (Sewer top
      couldn‟t find available rental.                        has blown) perhaps another month.

20.   Had a caravan for myself and 2 children.         33.   Husband with chronic illness – no
      Too cold, even with the heating on and                 accommodation offered (as we also have
      try showering in them! Just too                        dogs). We rang every estate agent for 2
      cramped, if there was a next time (God                 weeks until we could find
      forbid) we would definitely go into rented             accommodation.
      accommodation.
                                                       34.   1 week in local hotel. Ripped off –
21.   Caravan offered and accepted. Best                     charges overinflated for the area.
      option for us (to ensure security of
                                                       35.   6 weeks before we could get rented
      property).
                                                             accommodation due to delay in
22.   I lived with my daughter in Park Lane,                 authorisation being given – no pets.
      Thatcham.                                              Pets had to be placed in kennels.

23.   Installed in rented house for 6 months –         36.   Rehousing non-existent – I would have
      very good.                                             liked some. Still staying with relatives in
                                                             8ft sq room.
24.   Re-housed in a caravan – adequate for
      two BUT our house will never be a home           37.   Did not move out. Accommodation
      again – 45 years of memories gone!                     offered but nothing available locally and
                                                             suitable for disabled person.
25.   Because we arranged our own caravan
      (from Collins) we had to buy it back at          38.   No help from local authority about
      the end of building work.                              where/who to contact about
                                                             accommodation.
26.   No accommodation available – had to
      move 4 times in 6 months between                 Insurance and loss adjuster
      family and Friends (LA – LA Company 5
      (Reading)                                        39.   Insurance premiums have increased, but
                                                             not by much. Excess (in case of flood)
27.   It took from 2nd July till 16th August                 has not increased. Insurer 1 are our
      before they could give me a caravan. My                insurers. LA Company 1 \re our Loss
      property is a bungalow so I had nowhere                Adjusters. Both have been adequate but
      to go except friends.                                  slow.

28.   Sovereign tenant:- unsatisfactory                40.   No drying machines available.
      accommodation provided too late (7
      months).                                         41.   Our insurer re-insured the new owners
                                                             with no problem after we sold our
29.   We had to arrange for the disposal of our              property (Ashbourne Way) in February (it
      rubbish and every time a skip arrived it               was flooded just as we were buying
      was filled with other people‟s rubbish.                another house). They said it was because
      Some asbestos appeared in the driveway                 our house was flooded by surface water
      and this costs extra to dispose of.                    related to a blocked surface water sewer.

30.   No useful input from WBC or insurance            42.   Declaration of Storm not flood damage.
      company.                                               25% increase. Loss Adjuster good




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                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




43.   Insurer B > Premium loaded 15% +                54.   Insurance premium increased by £220
      excess increased to £2500 ; £2500                     per annum and flood and excess
      Contents from £100; £4000 buildings                   increased by £6000 to £6,100. Insured
      from £500. Good experience with Loss                  by Insurer C Direct. Can‟t change
      Adjuster until changed 6 months in.                   insurance company because we‟ve been
                                                            flooded.
44.   Insurance building and contents renewed
      November 07 before works started.               55.   Loss Adjuster, Mr Z from Insurer G was
      Insurer C. No increase. Loss Adjuster LA              rubbish, he didn‟t call back. Was told was
      Company 1. In queue for Loss Adjuster.                not insured on Saturday 21st July.
      Once with local dept. much better.
                                                      56.   Insurers good. Loss adjuster very bad
45.   We have had a lot of talk. What action is             initially wouldn‟t return calls. Difficult to
      being taken and by when?                              get hold of. More stress from them than
                                                            the actual flood. Eventually proved
46.   No problems with Loss Adjuster or                     acceptable towards the end.
      Insurance.
                                                      57.   Nothing could be done until Loss Adjuster
47.   Alliance and Insurer B were very good.                visited. Over 1 week not knowing where
      Paid our contents promptly. My premium                to live. Undue stress justifying claim.
      has gone down. Insurer D for X
      Removals Removals were rubbish as they          58.   LA Company 1 – 4 Loss adjusters –
      would not compensate me for damage to                 details to 1st one have been lost.
      my furniture that X Removals dropped                  Flooding team have now been disbanded.
      after all the tea I made them!                        Additional travel costs.

48.   Good response from Insurance Co. so             59.   Loss Adjuster – turned up in September,
      far. Loss Adjuster very approachable                  complained items had been disposed of.
      and helpful.
                                                      60.   LA Company 2 Loss Adjusters slow to
49.   Poor to terrible. Had to get hold of                  start. Churchills pay promptly.
      Insurer C Direct LA Company 2s Loss
      Adjuster. Drying Company 1 rubbish.             61.   Insurer H = 3 different loss adjusters =
                                                            very poor communication. Not very co-
50.   Insurers were fine – prompt service.                  operative. Had to deal with most issues
      (Insurer E/F);                                        ourselves. Only got results after threats
                                                            with National papers.
51.   Good rapid response – contents loss
      agreed within 4 days. Building cost             62.   Insurance co appointed restoration
      agreed 1 month. Cost paid very quickly.               company Builder 1. No work completed
                                                            by the restoration co. I had to arrange
52.   Rang insurance co Saturday, Loss                      for skips, catalogue and disposal.
      Adjuster arrived 9am on Monday, dealt                 Cleaning work total unsatisfactory.
      with everything. Structural Engineer
      arrived Tuesday. Everything arranged            63.   Work detailed by builders was for more
      for us. Claim settled without any                     than required. E.g. wanted to replace
      problems, renewal increased in line with              kitchen that just needed new plinths and
      inflation. Legal and General – very good              side panels, new kitchen so readily
      to deal with.                                         available. Therefore believe cost for >
                                                            than was required.
53.   Loss Adjuster totally useless. Never
      available. He is in Edinburgh and has no        64.   Loss adjusters firm change people in
      idea of problems. Will not part with                  charge of both claim and work
      money.                                                overseeing.




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                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




65.   Loss adjuster – LA Company 3. Took               78.   The length of time it took for a loss
      discussion with Director to encourage                  adjustor to visit the property.
      them to return calls or take any action. –
      Unacceptable.                                    79.   No emergency funds for several weeks.

66.   LA Company 1 very poor communicators             80.   Finger pointing between insurers and
      – they would not return calls, generally               loss adjusters.
      poor administration (lost files) and long
                                                       81.   Loss adjusters or insurers ignore phone
      delays.
                                                             calls, not paying on time.
67.   Kennet Valley Chem-Dry were excellent.
                                                       82.   Excess raised from £10 before flood to
68.   Abbey/Insurer C/Crawford – all excellent,              £1000 after flood.
      helpful and very approachable.
                                                       83.   Loss adjusters waste of time – their
69.   No documentation sent confirming we‟re                 surveyor was afraid to talk to us – he
      dry or that our house is OK. What does                 resigned end of March and LA Company
      this affect when we come to sell?                      2 told no-one. Likewise the Loss
                                                             Adjuster resigned end of April – no notice
70.   Crawfords excellent. Prompt payment of                 to clients. New Loss Adjuster doesn‟t
      receipts. Professional. Emailable.                     like emails.

71.   Insurance companies make no distinction          84.   Insurance agents are indifferent. We‟ve
      between flash flooding or river flooding.              had 4 and only one phoned us to see
      How can we change this?                                how the works were going – they don‟t
                                                             return phone calls or replay to emails.
72.   Loss adjuster (LA Company 1) have not                  Loss Adjusters likewise.
      sorted resurfacing of drive (due to
      underground stream flooding).                    85.   Accepted quote from my own builder
      Continually need to chase them.                        Steve Dealon (Nby)(excellent).
      Confused – now 2 contractors had been
      instructed to do work. Need to improve           86.   LA Company 5 awful – long delays.
      communication.
                                                       87.   LA Company 1 – Loss Adjusters were
73.   Generally good experience – slow to start              appalling – did not ring back. Changed 3
      / respond initially – loss adjuster took               times during course of rebuild. We
      over a week to show – slowness of                      arranged accommodation, builder and
      response was frustrating but                           chartered surveyor.
      understandable given Hull/Sheffield/us.
                                                       88.   Loss Adjusters LA Company 1 appalling.
      They couldn‟t cope.
                                                             Can‟t get them to phone you back. Have
74.   After the flood 3 weeks. I found the loss              had 5 loss adjusters.
      adjuster helpful.
                                                       89.   1st Loss Adjuster LA Company 5 (London)
75.   My insurance company, Prudential and                   – terrible man – no forward progress; 2nd
      my loss adjuster could not have been                   Loss Adjuster – LA Company 5 (Reading)
      more helpful.
                                                       90.   Although office admin slow and getting
76.   3 insurance assessors. 1 accepted then                 answers painful/long delays. Pressure of
      appointed agent who subcontracted out.                 work.

77.   LA Company 4 – Very poor management              91.   Loss Adjusters difficult to contact.
      of the case up to 7 loss adjustors dealing
                                                       92.   Difficult to get a contact telephone
      with the case – information missing and
                                                             number with insurers.
      no continuity.




                                                   5
                           FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




93.    Not clear how to proceed with disposal of               enough for complaints. Never contacted
       house contents.                                         by insurers to ask how claim
                                                               progressing. Arguments over every
94.    Difficult to contact insurer in immediate               single claim item despite evidence
       aftermath.                                              produced.

95.    No useful guidance given by insurer.             107.   Insurers, AXA very good.

96.    Difficult to get loss adjuster to call.          108.   Loss Adjuster, LA Company 2 terrible.
                                                               Tried to tell us what items were worth,
97.    You need to insure the buildings and
                                                               offered Argos vouchers!
       contents with the same company so they
       do not argue about who is responsible            109.   Dealt with insurers instead of Loss
       for what.                                               Adjusters – very good ending.

98.    Loft conversion and alterations to               110.   MMA Insurance – Brilliant – sorted
       existing bungalow totalling some                        quickly and insured again – no raise in
       £110,000 completed around the time of                   premium.
       flooding. No problems encountered with
       building insurance claims after flooding         111.   LA Company 1 – rubbish – said one thing
       but unable to increase buildings cover to               and did another.
       reflect new value of property. Our
       present insurers would only insure us for        112.   Insurance co did not realise the extent of
       original value and other companies give                 damage from flooding (sewage).
       same reaction.
                                                        113.   Ins/Loss Adjuster not very good with
99.    Insurance excess for storm/flood damage                 regard to loss. Ins good. Ins. Co Lloyds
       raised from £100 to £5000.                              TSB

100.   We had to keep on case to make sure              114.   Loss Adjuster, LA Company 1 – good
       work was carried out swiftly.                           experience. Insurer, Insurer B –
                                                               acceptable
101.   Used a Loss assessor as Project Manager
       to keep pressure up on insurance                 115.   Building work – experience acceptable
       company Loss Adjuster.                                  with Loss Adjuster.

102.   Disappointed to find out after the event         116.   Insurance company has not contacted
       that the builders assigned to me were in                since 20th July 07. Loss Adjuster (LA
       fact owned by the insurance company                     Company 1) very good.
       and the work was totally unsatisfactory.
                                                        117.   Insurers want a letter stating we are not
103.   Inability to make contact with either                   in a flood risk area.
       Insurance co or Loss Adjuster.
                                                        118.   Is any one from the council is paying
104.   Spent most days over a long period                      specific attention to the way people
       telephoning for some sort of                            are being treated by their insurance
       communication and news.                                 companies and s any one that will
                                                               get involved? We lived in our badly
105.   Loss adjusters (from Ireland) very                      flooded house with two children and
       indifferent – lost paperwork, didn‟t get                for some of the time with our 3rd
       cheques through as promised – we had                    and Grandson for seven months
       to complain to M.D in the end (LA                       before we were relocated with out
       Company 3 & Co.).                                       much help or even the house being
                                                               sanitised properly "we had all sorts
106.   Saga underwritten by Insurer C, Loss                    of stomach Bugs in that time " but
       Adjusters LA Company 1. No page long                    the point being we still have no idea




                                                    6
                         FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




       what is going on or whether we will             127.   Very quick to strip out house and
       be back at our house for this                          prepare for driers.
       Christmas; we are finding it harder
       to get any sense out of anyone.                 128.   Average work quality. Took too long.
                                                              No hot water over Christmas. Very
119.   I just wondered if other people are                    stressful.
       having exactly the same problem and
       if any one is keeping tabs on it; I did         129.   Very pleased with work. Took about six
       speak to a legal advisor but it seems                  months. Local builder.
       your on your own ,and I for one have
                                                       130.   Took 3 months for work to start but this
       no knowledge of Building work and
                                                              was controlled by waiting for the building
       flood damage and it seems to be at the
                                                              to dry out. Once work started –
       hands of the insurance companies loss
                                                              completed within 4 months by local
       adjuster, who on the surface appears
                                                              company.
       to be an accountant and not a builder
       or Architect !                                  131.   Builder carried out work to reasonable
                                                              standard. Started in November and
Building work                                                 finished by end of January. Once walls
                                                              stripped found several original building
120.   Building work OK. Time OK. All OK
                                                              problems i.e. RSJ not reaching other
       good.
                                                              wall. No mortar in breeze blocks. We
121.   Quality of work reasonable. Duration of                had to pay for repairs as not flood
       work satisfactory/good.                                damaged.


122.   Bad experience with delay and                   132.   Had own builders so work was done very
       neighbours‟ work by recommended                        quickly. Was dried quick and back in the
       company – poor. Cancelled proposed                     house by October.
       builder and arranged builder myself, who
                                                       133.   Had own builders – a friend‟s firm –
       did an excellent job. Delays – 9 months
                                                              worked well. Payment for them was a
       – unsatisfactory.
                                                              little slow though. Their quote was not
123.   Very good local builder. 10 months on                  questioned.
       nearly finished remedial work. Rebuild 9
                                                       134.   Building work was given to major
       months.
                                                              companies, they employ sub-contractors
124.   Building work has taken much longer                    they never met. Had 2 lots of cowboys
       than expected but no complaints about                  and all had to be started from the
       actual builders or standard of work.                   beginning again. Still not finished.


125.   Building work had project manager.              135.   Local builder – excellent.
       Managed well, didn‟t use local builders.
                                                       136.   Incompetent builders (numerous
       Good standard.
                                                              secondary claims)
126.   Sovereign Housing made a right pig‟s ear
                                                       137.   Builders from Hull appointed by x
       of it. Told us that everything would be
                                                              company - poor quality attendance. Still
       stripped out i.e. plaster and wood. In
                                                              not back home. Any guarantee on work!
       the end Builder 5 skimmed the floor and
       replaced some wood. 11 months after             138.   Local builder (Splinters) Great! N Carpets
       the flood we still need Builder 5 to come              installed flooring – sloppy and poor.
       back and finish off. They didn‟t do
       hardly any work for 8 weeks after we            139.   Builders have had 8 months and still not
       moved out – just squashed it all badly                 finished. Workmanship not good – they
       into 4 weeks.                                          took on too many houses – not a local
                                                              company so you can‟t get hold of them.




                                                   7
                          FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




140.   Total lack of co-ordination of trades            150.   Builder J. Ash of Newbury. Quite pleased
       leading to abortive and substandard                     with the work.
       work.
                                                        151.   Building work generally ok. Didn‟t feel in
141.   Builder 1. Based in Reading. Quality of                 control as insurance company appointed
       work is vvvv poor. Management of the                    surveyor who supposedly oversaw work
       work has been shocking.                                 from out of area.

142.   Availability of building contractor to           152.   Builder – Property Renew who only had
       commence work. Time taken to follow up                  one other job, hence the work was good.
       List.
                                                        153.   The insurance company agents had
143.   How do I get the necessary paperwork to                 various contractors, work carried out in
       show my house has been correctly                        wrong order. I rejected inside building
       repaired? I am selling my house and no-                 work and 2 contractors did not return to
       one seems to have these certificates                    my house. Building varied considerably
       needed by the solicitor. How do I know                  from acceptable just to complete
       whether the building work has been done                 rejection.
       to the correct standard? Is it necessary
       for surveyor to revisit and sign off? Lack       154.   Builder 3 (a franchise overloaded with
       of information particularly when it comes               work) Sub-standard work, unsupervised,
       to selling property.                                    in some cases not completed at all.

144.   What certificate should we have to               155.   Building work very sub-standard. Asked
       enable us to sell house in future?                      insurers to remove contractors. Used
                                                               people I knew to do rest of work.
145.   Builders got greedy and took on too
       much work, therefore building work took          156.   Why were Drying Company 1 Teeside
       way too long to complete. Loss                          used? They did nothing but leave a fan.
       adjusters should monitor builders more                  Could not plug it in as there were
       closely to speed up work and provide                    asbestos floor tiles. Why was local Drying
       consistency of work.                                    Company 1 not used? Teeside were also
                                                               dealing with Hull and Gloucester and did
146.   Who is responsible for soakaways on                     not have enough equipment.
       drives?
                                                        157.   “Expert” restorers appointed by Loss
147.   How do we know what the correct course                  Adjusters were just professional carpet
       of action is when builders advise                       and curtain cleaners – hence restorable
       different amounts of work? We are not                   items were wasted due to inaction.
       experts on the structure and long term
       effects on the house.                            158.   No overall control over building process
                                                               by insurers or building regs officers.
148.   My builders were sub-contracted by
       Iinsurer I. Very hard working and tried          159.   Builders – first lot were Eastern
       their very best. Their hands were tied by               Europeans who started to channel the
       Iinsurer I and I felt I had to fight for                extension where only one plug was even
       every job done. I had particular issues                 underwater. They were kicked off.
       with Insurer 1‟s Contract Manager who I                 Second lot have done the plastering and
       felt was trying to cut corners at my                    now no work for 3 months while the floor
       property & kept using the word “extras”.                is inspected/surveyed. 3rd crew start
                                                               tomorrow.
149.   Builders recalled twice to make good
       plastering. Very slow to attend. Work            160.   Lots of re-work. Builders appeared to
       incomplete – no work on Friday                          have freedom to write out their own
       afternoons.                                             cheques. Caused further damage to




                                                    8
                          FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




       property. No respect towards                            Every contractor with the exception of
       householders.                                           the decorators had their work rejected,
                                                               some more than once.
161.   Builder was brilliant – sourced by us from
       Winchester. Would recommend him to               174.   Sovereign housing – very very bad.
       anyone. Richard Hume                                    Builder 5 – Time wasters, caused
                                                               problems while in.
162.   TC Pembroke – Builder Newbury 40616.
       They were brilliant.                             175.   Builder 4 – The workers told me that
                                                               they had been told to leave things that
163.   Standard of plastering and woodwork                     the Loss Adjusters had agreed. I had to
       good. Electrical unfinished.                            sort this out

164.   Ins co appointed ins approved builder            176.   Used own builder. Loss Adjuster
       (based on Wokingham). Quote figures                     appointed known surveyor. Residue
       didn‟t calculate properly. Quote for work               building materials put down drains such
       not required included! Work necessary                   as plaster etc.
       not included. Ins co. Churchill. Also my
       builder Steve Dealon (Nby) Excellent –           177.   We found the workmen supplied by our
       no complaints. Quick when eventually                    insurers friendly and competent. They
       able to get on with work.                               seemed to understand what we had
                                                               experienced and know what to do. Our
165.   I wanted to have concrete floors instead                only complaints are that because the
       but was refused by the insurance                        company which did the stripping out and
       assessor – “Like for Like”.                             fully expected to do the refurbishment as
                                                               well was changed, the care with which
166.   Amount of time the builders took to start
                                                               the original company‟s workers had
       work. Ripped walls out and Sept 07 –
                                                               preserved some features of how our
       replastered Jan 08.
                                                               house looked before the flood was
167.   Workmanship very poor. Kitchen fitted                   wasted because the new company came
       incorrectly; fitted cooker too close to                 in and without reference to the pictures I
       cupboard. They didn‟t put the corner                    could have shown them did an excellent
       spacer section in- result: unable to open               job in putting the hall back to what they
       cooker door.                                            thought it had looked like beforehand. In
                                                               addition, the final coat of paint to the
168.   Of an adequate standard but some points                 final part of the refurbishment has still to
       could have been done better.                            be done. When I ring the person in
                                                               charge, he just says (repeatedly now) “I
169.   Left to their own devices they would                    thought that had been done.”
       have done much more work than was
       necessary. Quality of work was average.

170.   After my experience with the builders I
                                                        Drainage
       took a cash settlement and I am                  General comments and unspecified
       completing my own work.                          locations

171.   Builder 4 – we explained that we had a           178.   Without exception, all those I have
       bespoke fitted kitchen but had to fight to              spoken to believe that the effects of
       get and equivalent replacement.                         a heavy period of rain could have
                                                               been greatly reduced had the
172.   Very good experience with builder. Used                 existing drainage worked to capacity
       local builder – excellent work.                         and this MUST be the over-riding
                                                               message. The water was not getting
173.   Builder 5 – If you had to rate them 0-10,
                                                               into the system – WHY?
       10 being excellent, they would receive 1.




                                                    9
                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




179.   I would like to replace my concrete           190.   Map of ownership, rights and
       drive with a permeable surface but                   responsibilities. WBC do they have
       there is a lack of decent information                one?
       about the most suitable products.
                                                     191.   Engineer from Council does not know
180.   If more houses are built there must                  where drains run.
       be adequate drainage for them.
                                                     192.   Drains should be regularly
181.   There must be more regular                           maintained and cleared.
       inspections of road drains that are
       near houses that have previously              193.   New development must be
       flooded.                                             controlled.

182.   There should be less building in the          194.   Not clear how important drains on
       Bath Road area – I tried to talk to                  each property to help relieve general
       Thames Water prior to the flooding                   flooding.
       because an extra house had been
                                                     195.   Planning – need an integrated
       built nearby in a garden and I
                                                            approach. How long before we meet
       wondered if the additional drainage
                                                            the planners? Earlier/now rather
       had been allowed for.
                                                            than later.
183.   After flooding Thames Water will give
                                                     196.   Should each property be assessed
       you free flood gates if you have the
                                                            re. likely runoff?
       water tested by them and it is found
       to have sewage in it. Go to their             197.   Road drains should have routine
       website. [Editor‟s comment:                          assessment e.g. visual inspection.
       requests are assessed on a case by
       case basis – there is an exclusion for        198.   Minimal maintenance of drainage
       flooding caused by extreme                           system – seen 1 drain cleaning
       weather.]                                            vehicle in 6 years, one week after
                                                            July 07 floods.
184.   Thames Water is going to produce
       letter for residents to submit to             199.   Drains reported over several years,
       insurers.                                            still not running.

185.   If water put in to river more quickly         200.   As I have lived in Thatcham for 39
       will affect may other properties.                    years I have seen the drain
                                                            maintenance disappear. You used to
186.   Detailed time plan of scheduled                      see gully emptying vehicle – not any
       work.                                                more. Hence many drains are
                                                            blocked. When these are reported
187.   Stop it at source.
                                                            no action is seen.
188.   Thames Water – very bad at
                                                     201.   I‟ve seen contractors who were gully
       returning calls – basically not
                                                            emptying but skipping every other
       interested.
                                                            gully, so only half of them were
189.   You tell us that the drainage is                     cleared.
       designed for a 1 in 30 yr storm but it
                                                     202.   When the last heavy rain on June 3rd
       is understanding the existing design
                                                            the response from some parts of
       standard is 1 in 15 yr and won‟t be 1
                                                            WBC was appalling. Will any work
       in 30 yr as Standard until the next
                                                            carried out be maintained correctly?
       five year plan starts in 2009.
                                                     203.   Should have had this meeting a year
                                                            ago. Not picking up local knowledge




                                                10
                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




       and it is going into planning fixes.                 night before and saw state of drains.
       Anger over lack of activity from TTC                 Not seen to be emptied since.
       and WBC – its all about saving
       money!                                        214.   When all the drainage covers came
                                                            up from the roads my son fell down
204.   WBC Councillors and Thatcham Town                    whilst trying to walk up the road.
       Councillors have been notable for
       their absence over the last 12                215.   Lack of information. Communication
       months. There is a wealth of local                   for residents about what work is
       knowledge available – but it is too                  being carried out by various
       late asking now as plans are I would                 agencies.
       like to see a lot more work done, the
                                                     216.   When will Thames Water get off their
       only work I‟ve seen is ditches dug
                                                            backside and actually do something
       around the Kennet School.
                                                            about the drainage? Actions speak
205.   No improvements. Criminal attitude.                  louder than words!
       No confidence to stay in Thatcham.
                                                     217.   Water table is high. Rain water
206.   Keep the drains clean and stop                       remains on surface. Takes time for
       building more houses, especially in                  water to drain away.
       places where one house in
                                                     218.   Infrastructure not built to cope with
       demolished and 3 houses are built.
                                                            rainfall.
207.   WBC and TTC should have been
                                                     219.   Still not happy that anything you
       talking to residents 10 months ago
                                                            have said will help. The road outside
       not spending money on consultants
                                                            out house became a river. The drain
       when the info was available free
                                                            is just outside out house on the
       from residents.
                                                            road. What can you do?
208.   West Berks Council needs to
                                                     220.   How are pipe depth level / flow rates
       publicise what they‟ve been doing
                                                            measured? Can this be automated?
       better.
                                                     221.   Statement to insurers that flooding
209.   When was the last time the capacity
                                                            was due to man made issues relating
       of surface water sewers was
                                                            to drainage.
       increased in Thatcham?
                                                     222.   There has not been any drains
210.   Drains lost their covers, under flood
                                                            cleaned in 15 years and the roads
       water this was not apparent and
                                                            still have not been swept.
       very dangerous.
                                                     223.   How can you demonstrate
211.   How do we tell which drains are
                                                            conclusively that Thatcham is not a
       which when they are gushing their
                                                            flood plain/water meadow/flat piece
       contents.
                                                            of land where water collects during a
212.   Over a period of 45 years we have                    rainstorm.
       been unable to use toilet when
                                                     224.   Planning, forecast a strategy for the
       heavy rain. Sewage always in
                                                            future capacity of drainage –
       garden – numerous calls over the
                                                            weather patterns are changing!
       years to Thames Water. Still
       awaiting the clean up from a few              225.   Regular maintenance needed
       weeks ago.
                                                     226.   No landowners responsible for gullies
213.   Drains in our close only emptied                     present – anyone enforcing cleaning
       after the driver delivered sandbags                  gullies?




                                                11
                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




227.   Sewage not cleaned up quickly.                           made to police it from debris causing
                                                                obstruction and blockage?
228.   I‟ve never seen anyone cleaning the
       gullies down my road.                          235.      Why is this ditch so blocked – every
                                                                time we get heavy rain the water
229.   I‟ve reported a blocked road drain                       floods into Bowling Green Road into
       (August 07) only to be told that it                      our homes! We live in FEAR!!
       had been checked within the past
       month because someone else had                 236.      Drainage proved to be inadequate
       complained, but that it had been                         for Florence Gardens/Bowling Green
       found to be „clear‟ (and so given a                      Road on 20.7.08 and on at least one
       clean bill of health). This indicates a                  other occasion since. Would like
       shortcoming in the procedure for                         reassurance by way of identifying
       checking and repairing potentially                       what caused the programmes and
       damaged drains. I was told that it                       programme of remedial action with
       would be put on a jetting programme                      target dates for completion.
       but I don‟t know whether this has
       been done. It is possible that there           237.      Ditches in Florence Gardens –
       could be a more fundamental                              Decking so no obstruction can be
       problem with this drain. It is now                       seen.
       marked with a red spot.
                                                      238.      How is it to be policed? What
230.   Council stopped cleaning gullies on                      assurance do we get?
       private land a couple of years ago
                                                      239.      Bowling Green Road has been
       (and didn‟t tell landowners).
                                                                flooded from a culvert three times
231.   The Local Authorities must not stand                     since 20 July 2007 including in
       idly by while companies such as                          January, March and on 3rd June.
       Thames Water, making huge profits                        Sewer overflows also occurred.
       despite comparatively “pin-prick”
                                                      240.      Problems occurred at BGR only since
       fines, do not do what they should
                                                                the new development (Florence
       have done in the past – properly
                                                                Gardens) was built1. The construction
       maintain their whole water/sewerage
                                                                of Tull Way effectively cut off part of
       system. Local Authorities and the
                                                                a field, which used to regularly flood
       Insurance Companies should stand
                                                                in winter or after heavy rain. BG
       together on enforcing this (through
                                                                Road used to form the N boundary of
       the courts if necessary).
                                                                Thatcham before Tull Way was built.
232.   Drainage ditches, culverts and
                                                      241.      Were „holding tanks‟ built under
       ground water sewers had not been
                                                                houses at FG to manage floodwater?
       adequately maintained - it is
       monstrous.                                     242.      Residents need assurances that the
Florence Gardens/Bowling Green                                  problems in the BGR area have been
Road                                                            addressed.

233.   David Wilson Homes – Initial flooding          243.      Ponding of surface water at front of
       discussions prior to development.                        property (tarmac). [Florence Gdns]

234.   Ditch in Florence Gardens overflows            244.      There is a fairly heavily overgrown
       during heavy rain directly into                          ditch which would appear to run
       Bowling Green Road. Why or how                           along the north side of Bowling
       were the builders given permission
       for the fence to be put on the road            1
                                                          Editor‟s note: The plans were refused by WBC and
       side of the ditch so access cannot be          objected to by Thatcham Town Council, but granted by
                                                      the Govenrment‟s Inspector on appeal




                                                 12
                             FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




          Green Road between the Northfield                      (Ashbourne Way). Why the two
          road mini-roundabout and the                           streams only in one pipe? [They
          entrance to the Regency Park Hotel                     used to be in separate watercourses
          complex. This ditch has been                           that then joined at Lower Way] Is it
          observed being full to the brim with                   big enough?
          water on several occasions since last
          year‟s flood. It appears not to go              251.   Water continues to collect in back
          anywhere and thus is just a sump                       garden – follows line of covered
          from which Bowling Green Road can                      culvert.
          become flooded when the rain is
                                                          252.   Main stream where culvert comes
          enough to saturate the hill on its
                                                                 out under Lower Way has been
          northern bank – as I believe it did
                                                                 cleaned out but kids have and keep
          last year.2
                                                                 pushing banks in and playing in
Rivers Estate                                                    stream.

245.      Thames Road: on 3 June, surface                 253.   Drainage issues in driveway,
          water lying. Manhole was full at                       investigations into subsidence of
          11.00 hrs, wasn‟t heavy rain.                          driveway/garage. (Ashbourne Way)
          Streetcare call centre not prepared,
          didn‟t pass details on, etc. Call               254.   More water comes across into our
          centre staff need to be properly                       property when it rains since the
          briefed.                                               neighbours paved over their front
                                                                 garden.
246.      Need for bigger drains.
                                                          255.   Lower Way regularly floods in heavy
247.      I am aware that a good deal of                         rain (but is passable with care), but
          attention has been paid to some of                     „flooding‟ warning signs are rarely
          the drainage channels (ditches and                     put in place.
          streams) in the area around where I
          live (Trent Crescent), and am very
          grateful for this.                              Cold Ash Hill – Heath Lane-
                                                          Northfield Road

Link Way - Bourne Ave –                                   256.   Request please for drainage
Paynesdown Rd - Ashbourne Way-                                   culverts/ditches down side of Cold
Swansdown Walk-Lower Way                                         Ash Hill to take pressure off hill.
                                                                 [Editor‟s note: there used to be an
248.      Residents unaware of presence of                       open ditch down the east side of CA
          major culvert carrying a stream                        Hill, taking the Cold Ash Stream.
          under their properties. I found it less                This was culverted >40 years ago.]
          than a fork depth when digging my
          back garden (Baily Ave). Many                   257.   In times of heavy rain Cold Ash Hill
          residents are still unaware it is there.               is a running river where Cold Ash Hill
          There is no access to it. Who put it                   meets Heath Lane and Southend.
          in?                                                    [Editor‟s Note: West Berkshire
                                                                 Council has already undertaken
249.      Main flooding in Bourne Road caused                    some work to improve drainage
          by water off traffic on A4 coming                      here.]
          through gardens.
                                                          258.   The drains aren‟t big enough on Cold
250.      Concern regarding convergence of                       Ash Hill.
          several sewer drains in one place


2
    Being cleared, September 2008




                                                     13
                        FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




259.   Northfield Road to Cold Ash Hill – it                   flooding. Over £2000. (55-62
       will happen here again – regular                        Elmhurst Rd).
       maintenance is needed.
                                                     270.      I have lived here for 40 years. The
260.   Drainage in Northfield Road – What                      garden used to flood every winter;
       is being done to prevent sewage                         there used to be open ditch3. When
       continually backing up particularly                     ditch was piped, the garden stayed
       after heavy rain? We are constantly                     dry. After Florence Gardens was built
       unblocking and rodding ourselves. (1                    the garden flooded again!
       Northfield Road)                              Loundyes Close
261.   Drains at Northfield Road found to be         271.      In my road the sewage drains
       overflowing. Reported this but were                     blocked every year before the flood
       found to be the same days later.                        and we were told by Thames Water it
       This was just after the July flooding                   was not their responsibility.
                                                               Sovereign Housing dealt with it.
262.   Drains in Southend, and Hambridge
       Road still blocked and overflow with
       rain.                                         BathRd/Chapel St/London Road
                                                     (A4)
263.   On 3rd June the water was gushing
       out of manhole 3-4 inches high. It            272.      On the pavement to the front of our
       had reached the A4 and had                              property, there is a shallow gully
       nowhere to go.                                          with grid openings at regular
                                                               intervals. Of recent date, during
264.   Some residents on N‟field Road                          heavy rain, these drains were
       asked for sandbags on 3rd June                          incapable of taking the rainwater and
       owing the volume of water coming                        flooding ensued. I contacted West
       down the road.                                          Berkshire Council and Thames Water
                                                               - neither knew which organisation
265.   Bottom of Northfield Road – very                        was responsible for these drains. Is
       little action seen to address                           it not the case that the whole
       problems with drainage in this                          drainage infrastructure in the
       location.                                               Thatcham area is poor and lacks
                                                               maintenance because of no clear
266.   The Firs (Northfield Road) –                            understanding of upkeep or
       „forgotten‟. No-one seems to know                       responsibility? (103 Bath Rd)
       we exist.
                                                     273.      Between May and July 2008 I have
267.   My property (Northfield Road) has                       observed numerous road gullies that
       been flooded 10 times in the past 20                    do not drain water away even at
       years, 3 times since last July,                         times of moderate rainfall. These
       because of water coming off Cold                        have all been reported to West
       Ash Hill, exacerbated by new housing                    Berkshire Council.
       and the fact that TW have to connect
       all houses to an old sewer network.           274.      Drainage still a huge worry every
                                                               time it rains. During even moderate
268.   There was flooding in 1971 but not                      rainfall the sewer on the A4 outside
       to the same extent as in 2007.                          our property cannot cope and
                                                               sewage backs up into our drains and
                                                               we are unable to use any water.
Elmhurst Road                                                  (The White House, Chapel St) This
269.   Have had to put in a soakaway in at
       our own cost in order to stop                 3
                                                         Editor‟s note: this would have carried the Ash
                                                     Bourne.




                                                14
                              FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




          has happened January 08, March 08                          system resulted in more properties that
          and June 08 so far. 4                                      would have otherwise flooded.

275.      Drains still blocked – Matthews                     286.   We have put in drain on our drive.
          Close. Road not adopted yet.
                                                              287.   Surface water sewer in our garden was
                                                                     80% blocked – Thames Water negligent
Central Thatcham                                                     and took ages to agree to do CCTV.

276.      The drain in the Hollands floods every              288.   The balancing pond has been flooding
          time it rains. The Council last Tuesday                    more noticeably since the housing
          said it was Thames Water responsibility,                   development in Kennet Heath. This must
          Thames Water said it was the Council‟s.                    be due to too many houses and drainage
          Have told Stuart Clark and Mark                            insufficient.
          Wickstead from TW.
                                                              289.   Balancing pond seems to fill a lot more
East & south-east Thatcham
                                                                     often since new housing development
277.      Balancing pond in Pipers Way still fills up                has gone up.
          regularly after rainfall.
                                                              290.   Flooded last Tuesday (3 June) because of
278.      Run off from Dunston Park estate – High                    underground stream (Bucklebury
          water table – well in garden full to brim.                 Flashe?) Manhole cover blew up – why
          Water not able to drain away into ground                   did this happen with this weather? Can
          as solid clay soil. Ditches / Stream filled                this stream be diverted? (Sargood Close)
          in and built over. (Park Lane)
                                                              291.   Clarify the responsibility for clearance
279.      Can the balancing pond in Pipers Way be                    and pumps between relevant companies.
          dug out deeper to hold more water
                                                              292.   Thames Water admit there are blockages
          before its sent down the pipe to prevent
                                                                     in the “Syphon”. We are nearly 12
          the people local to it from flooding.
                                                                     months on from the flood and still
280.      Drainage of Wheelers Green is an issue.                    nothing has been done. Even after 2
                                                                     near misses! Isn‟t it time to make it a
281.      I‟ve seen Station Road flooded „loads‟ of                  priority and sort it out?
          times in the past.
                                                              293.   When drainage from Pipers Way
282.      WBC very poor responses. Always need                       balancing pond being correctly
          chasing. Grass cuttings are left and clog                  maintained? Surface water drains in
          up drains and balancing pond. Must be                      Lyon Close have not been cleaned since
          taken away in future.                                      July 2007. Declaration from Thames
                                                                     Water for insurance company to say
283.      Will the grids at the end of drains (esp.                  balancing pond will be rectified.
          the new replacement at Rainsford) be of
          a type which will not trap a person?                294.   Drains outside house at end of close still
                                                                     overflow during heavy rain. (Quarrington
284.      Drains in John Hunt Close have still not                   Close)
          been cleaned since last July floods.
                                                              295.   Thames Water to check underground
285.      Thames Water – There appears to be no                      stream running along E side of Station
          acceptance that the failure to conduct                     Road to see if blocked past Burdwood
          adequate maintenance on drainage                           shops or further down as floods our
                                                                     Close (4 Sargood Close)

4                                                             296.   When will the balancing ponds be built?
    Editor‟s Note: A sewer overflows from a manhole on
                                                                     When will it be realised that greater
the footway opposite Dunstan Green was also reported
                                                                     drainage is needed to the river from the
on 3rd June.




                                                         15
                         FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




       south-east of Thatcham? When will                308.   Blocked drain o/s Moorside centre
       people stop hiding behind it being a 100                (Redrow).
       year event, that is so backward looking.
                                                        309.   Clarification is required over the legal
297.   Sewage contamination from nearby                        responsibility of the developer over
       sewage manhole (5 Longcroft Road)                       drainage at Kennet Heath. Who is
                                                               responsible, what enforcement is
298.   Dip in Pipers Way filled up quick. Storm                available?
       water drains overflowed. Drainage ditch
       overflowed Dunston Park. Water from              310.   One resident living next to 'meadow'
       Harts Hill/Bucklebury.                                  said drains fill up every time it rains.
                                                               Drains blocked, roads not swept.
299.   I insisted that the drainage system was                 Defence Road never cleaned.
       inspected by camera. This was carried                   Rubble/gravel going into drain.
       out. Should have been done regularly.                   Redrow – need to ask WBC officers
                                                               of the appropriate enforcement
300.   If this happens again Wheelers Green
                                                               route.
       Way needs to be closed to traffic
       immediately – our house was damaged              311.   Block paving above road level, house
       further by people driving by sightseeing.               access below road level. Damp
                                                               course levels lower than highways.
301.   Grassmead had water fountaining waist
                                                               NHBC says nothing been done
       height on 20 July.
                                                               against regulations. The situation
302.   Pipers Way balancing pond overflowed.                   needs clarification. Ask for more info
                                                               from building control. Developers
303.   During heavy rain, I have noticed a                     can choose who does the building
       considerable stream of water crossing                   control, they don't use WBC. NHBC
       the road just after the Eastern exit from               were used by Redrow. Have Local
       “The Mill” roundabout.                                  authorities got any powers?

                                                        312.   TW or WBC not adopted drains so
Kennet Heath                                                   why pay 100% water rates or
                                                               Council Tax?
304.   Kennet Heath – Since last July
       pumps have switched on but I                     313.   Police have no jurisdiction. Roads are
       understand still some areas were                        private. TW not adopted drains so
       flooded last week. Please fix it and                    why pay 100% water rates.
       maintain.
                                                        314.    Why do we pay full council tax and
305.   Is West Berks Building Control aware                    water rates when we‟re not getting a
       that lots of Redrow houses at Kennet                    full service for drainage?
       Heath have finish ground levels less
       that 150mm below the DPCM?                       315.   Why did houses flood and BP not fill
                                                               up?
306.   Blockages in drainage system
       preventing run off of surface water              316.   Request for blog.
       due to building.
                                                        317.   Clarification over legal duty of
307.   Water sat for 20 hours – 8 inches                       developer required. What can be
       throughout ground floor of home –                       done ref Redrow?
       stood outside property on Saturday
                                                        318.   Developer has no satisfactory
       lunchtime talking to neighbour –
                                                               answer. Said the pumping station
       sudden gurgling from drains and all
                                                               was working – no proof to the
       the water gone in 5 mins.
                                                               contrary. BP designed as a wet pond.




                                                   16
                          FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




319.   What is being done N of A4?                     325.   Virgin would not retain telephone
                                                              number or suspend cable service.
320.   Planning need to attenuate flow
                                                       326.   NPower are incompetent.
       above Thatcham. Are thre any plans
                                                              Threatened legal action when in fact
       for new SWS south? [No.]
                                                              owed me money.
321.   Property next to 'meadow' - drains
       fill up every time it rains. Drains             327.    BT: This company has no concept of
       blocked, roads not swept. Defence                      what people have gone through.
       Road never cleaned. Rubble/gravel                      Staff (in the main) are arrogant,
       going into drain.                                      untrained, incompetent, rude, do not
                                                              take responsibility and are totally
322.   Block paving above road level, house                   disempowered to solve customers
       accesses below road level. Damp                        problems. Their freephone number is
       course levels lower than highways.                     appalling service, and you will have
       NHBC says nothing been done                            to spend at lease three hours being
       against regulations. WBC should                        passed from one person to another
       enforce. 40% Redrow homes not                          and continuously being put on hold.
       built to regulations with damp course                  If you are lucky you get someone
       below ground level. NHBC signed off                    has basic command of the English
       – needs exploring. Ask for more info                   Language but invariably
       from building control. Developers                      communication is a real problem for
       can choose who does the building                       this "communication Giant". Their
       control, they don't use WBC. NHBC                      processes and systems are slow and
       were used by Redrow. Have Local                        antiquated, Staff kept telling me
       authorities got any powers?                            their computer was not working and
                                                              the process does not allow us to look
                                                              after customers like that, neither
Utilities                                                     does it allow us to correct errors we
                                                              have made - the customer has to
Several comments were made during the                         sort that out. The staff have no
workshops about utility companies and                         concept of time they use phrases like
West Berkshire Council failing to cancel or                   "can you hold for a second" or "can
hold billing on vacant properties. At the end                 you hold for a minute" when the
of the meeting for east Thatcham a show of                    truth is can you hold for 30 minutes.
hands was requested on this subject, and it                   They disconnect services and then
appeared that a considerable number of                        bill you for them.
flood victims had experienced problems
with utility companies. One resident had               328.    Npower: Despite telling them that
reported companies to the regulator, after                    we had been flooded and that they
which he was satisfactorily treated and                       needed to adjust our Direct Debits
threatening letters ceased. 328-332 are                       they failed to do so and continued
comments from a single resident.                              taking money from my account and
                                                              charging based on estimated
323.   We experienced problems with utilities                 readings. Despite continuously
       companies especially British Gas, they                 ringing them they failed to act and
       seem unable to grasp what had                          ultimately they owed me large sums
       happened; we were threatened with                      of money. Despite this they
       court action. It took over 9 months to                 threatened legal action based on
       sort them out. TV Licensing sent endless               estimated bills, when the truth was
       threatening letters to an empty house.                 they owed me money. In the end I
                                                              referred this to OFGEM and was
324.   Utilities – Rates – Sky – Virgin Media
                                                              awarded compensation for appalling
       (Internet)
                                                              customer service. I have also



                                                  17
                         FLOODING AND THATCHAM, A YEAR IN PERSPECTIVE: APPENDIX 1. RESIDENTS’ COMMENTS




       switched supplier. I am not prepared
       to do business with incompetent
       companies.

329.    TV Licensing: We too have had
       threatening letters, despite having a
       documented trail transferring licence
       to rented property. It appears that
       if a new TV, video or DVDS recorder
       is purchased they are automatically
       notified and start chasing. They do
       not understand concept of flooded
       properties may be unoccupied.

330.   Thames Water. They have been
       good at keeping accounts straight.
331.   Virgin Media. Still charged for old
       property even though not there and
       not using services. It now turns out
       the service was not even available as
       there is a fault in line and it has so
       far taken three weeks to rectify. I
       have already got some money back.


Editor‟s note: I suspect there would have been
more comments on utilities if we had made this
a specific question in our questionnaire.




                                                 18

				
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