Son left 'hopping mad' as elderly mum's Sunderland tower block home left without heating for a week

A ‘hopping mad’ son has slammed housing bosses after his elderly mother’s Sunderland flat was without heating for a week.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:28 pm
Robert Boyd is angry after his elderly mother's Gentoo flat in Australia Tower was without central heating for a week. Pictures by Stu Norton.

Sylvia Boyd, 88, lives alone in the one-bedroom property In Australia Tower, a Gentoo tower block in Gilley Law. She has health issues including angina and diabetes.

Her central heating stopped working on January 7 and was still not back on seven days later, although she has still had hot water which works from a different system to the heating.

The situation has been the same for some other residents in the block down one side of the building.

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The central heating in some Gentoo flats in Australia Tower went off on January 7. It was still off a week later. Pictures by Stu Norton.

Gentoo has apologised to residents for the inconvenience.

Residents were each issued a single electrical convector heater for use while the central heating was out of action. But Mrs Boyd’s son, Robert Boyd, says it is inadequate and expensive to run.

Mr Boyd, 65, said: “It’s a hopeless thing. You might as well light a candle. My mother’s been sitting there with three coats on.

“She’s had a flu injection, but she’s getting a cold. I’m hopping mad to be honest.

Robert Boyd is angry after his elderly mother's Gentoo flat in Australia Tower was without central heating for a week. Picture Stu Norton.

“It’s not acceptable, especially when you’ve got people in bad health. I’ve taken her out to The Range and Sainsbury’s just to keep her warm.

“All you get off Gentoo is that they’re waiting for a part. No one is ever to blame.

“Last week the lifts were out of order. But there hasn’t been any problem with the heating before. It’s usually very warm in there.”

Diane Carney, director of repairs and maintenance at Gentoo Group, said: “We are aware of an issue with the communal heating system in Australia Tower that is affecting heating provision to a small number of properties since last week.

“We have been in contact with all affected residents to update them on the matter and would like to use this opportunity to once again apologise for any inconvenience the wait for the repair has caused.

“We have provided the affected residents with an alternative source of temporary heat while we wait for the communal system to be repaired.”