Bulk metering

Thames Water notified residents of Rosebery House on Sewardstone Road that they intend to install a bulk water meter that measures supply to the area on the 26. June 2017. Water will be turned off between 9:00 and 17:00 for up to 3 hours.

Thames Water say they install that water meter to measure water leaks in their supply system.

The letter does not mention that their service agents will knock on anybody’s door. So you do not need to let anybody in who says they are checking your water supplies on the day. Any problems need to be reported to 0800 009 3816.

 

Water overflow from roof tank at no.s 1-6 Rosebery House

Quite concerning to me is the water falls I frequently see coming from the water tank in the block of Rosebery House comprising flats 1 – 6. The water takes, at worst, the appearance of a water fall and at least a severe dripping from the tank. Water usually drips from overflow onto the sheds and into the ground.

This does not happen always but sporadically happens at times. I see it happening at least once each day.

What worries me is whether this affects the communal water bills we have and pay to Tower Hamlets Homes.

The problem exists since at least 3 years and I made written enquiries to Tower Hamlets Homes and last year to the former Councillor Stephanie Eaton. After Stephanie’s involvement the problem temporarily ceased but has now started up again.

I think it is important to find out whether this water overflow from the tank on the block affects the communal water bills residents in Rosebery House get as my water bills have steadily risen over years and I try to keep them as low as possible.

I invite residents to think about this and make enquiries if they deem it necessary with Tower Hamlets Homes who collect the communal water charge for all of the residents that are receiving communal water supplies in the block.

No water at all

some residents in Rosebery House have no water at all today. No drinking or other domestic water that supplies toilet cisterns or bathroom taps. There are no public water taps made available and its very inconvenient for families.

The problem was plain last year when the tank supply pipes on the roofs froze. We were then promised that the pipes had been insulated just to be told again this year that the insulation is broken and insufficient. Last Friday the frozen pipes had been defrosted saying that the pipes  will be boxed in on Monday, when they should have been boxed in Friday as we are now having severe frost this weekend.

It is extremely unhygienic not to have any water in a flat and no supplies to flush the toilet or do essential cleaning.

I called emergency yesterday to be told there is no staff to deal with the problem. I called again today advising that by now all water supplies have frozen. I called on a neighbour who still has water supplies on another stack and got some water for flushing down the toilet but cannot knock all day to disturb them for this. I now get snow to melt in a bucket for flashing the loo.

Lets hope that contractors melt that ice quickly and insulate those pipes as there is no end to the freeze. Standing pipes should be made available for people to use.

Water supplies frozen

Again, just like last year, our drinking water supplies in Rosebery House have frozen again, that is the supplies of those who are unlucky enough to depend on the supplies from Tower Hamlets Homes. I understand some owners managed to circumvent the water supply systems in their properties.

Our supplies come through a distribution system on the roof of the building and with increasingly cold winters this system must be overhauled and not left like it year after year.

The way the plumbing works is that it supplies washing machines and gas-fired central heating systems in the flats and those wont’ work either. In effect we now can’t have any heating or use our washing machines, which depend on the cold-water supply from the drinking water taps.

This problem was reported to Tower Hamlets Homes last year and nothing has been done since then to eliminate the problem.  This ould be avoided by changing the water supply method to the old one, when the drinking water came straight from a mains pipe at ground level. Why drinking water is pumped up to the roofs to be re-distributed into the flats through narrow pipes flowing down from the roof is something I never understood to be practical design.  I think residents affected by this method of fresh water supply to their estates should take action to have this problem looked at and resolved on all estates.

It doesn’t help the problem that water pumping stations are built on all estates to pump fresh water up to the top of council blocks when the weather is freezing cold and freezes the water in the pipes, so that it can’t be redistributed to flow back down into individual flats. .

Tower Hamlets Homes Repairs Service

In conclusion to the problems I’ve had with the water supplies as described in detail I would like to say the following:

When Tower Hamlets took over the service of our flats as ALMO for London Borough of Tower Hamlets they made a lot of changes, which resulted in a centralisation and de-personalisation of services.

The centralisation of repairs services to a phone switch board, started whilst housing still was with Tower Hamlets council and then those blocks that did not opt to join other ALMOS, were taken over by Tower Hamlets Homes.

Prior to this  the local housing offices instructed repairs to workers directly from their office, where residents reported them, which had dedicated locally placed housing officers, that knew all the blocks and pitfalls and special conditions of blocks and  local staff also knew the remedies and how they could be achieved via the quickest and cheapest route.

Our local housing office was 73 Bishops Way but prior to that, Wellington Estate had a housing office in one of the blocks on the Wellington estate and Parkview estate had their housing office in the Glasshouse. Both estates then got amalgamated to have a housing office at 73 Bishops Way, where originally the housing officer Mr Nelson is famous for his excellent work in maintaining his 2 estates.

73 Bishops Way housing office became victim to the housing services re-structure, we got re-directed to Gladstone Place and now to Rushmead.

I remember the demonstration taking place outside of 73 Bishops Way housing office during the last week of opening. Since then I had joined the housing improvement working group to see what could be done to improve repairs and services in general but keep on running my head against a wall because it is the service structure itself that is at fault and whilst THH continues with this service structure we cannot do any improvements.

I went to many meetings with local residents and consultations where always the same complaint brought by all attending and discussing this matter, again and again, namely that people want local dedicated housing officers and care takers that know the area and the people residing in it. (Taking into account that also our police officers change more often, we suffer a considerable amount of social destabilization with these changes).

Looking at the story of our water repair taking 2 days to complete with several service teams being sent out to investigate the problem and having to learn how our water distribution functions, I want to emphasize that a locally run service manned by dedicated local housing officers would immediately have been able to pinpoint the problem, allocated appropriate repairs teams because a local officers would have known about the extremely complicated and unusual water distribution systems on Rosebery House. In contrast we have a central telephone system where operators sit, that do not know the conditions on any particular block and have a one fits all policy to adhere to. This has without any doubt cost at least double the money to carry out the repair. There is no reason to blame the contractors for that because they rely on instructions from the THH engineers and contractors also change often or they use subcontractors and they cannot possibly be expected to know each block and all complications within it.

In conclusion I think it was right that I left the THH working group where I could not do anything because I think it is the structure of service provision that is at fault and they do not want to hear that.