Collapsed council flat ceiling ‘took more than a week to repair’

Theresa Simpson's damaged ceiling in Berkhamsted
Theresa Simpson's damaged ceiling in Berkhamsted

A disabled woman has hit out at council contractors who left her with a sodden carpet and damaged ceiling for more than a week – despite her reporting a water leak weeks beforehand.

Council tenant Theresa Simpson, of Riverside Gardens, Berkhamsted, first noticed a problem back in November but despite several phone calls, it remained unfixed.

On New Year’s Eve, while she was watching television, Ms Simpson heard a loud crash and discovered the ceiling in her porch has fallen in.

The 58-year-old, who cannot work due to arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes and Raynaud’s Disease, said: “It’s a joke. I’m sitting here listening to the ceiling falling down, my carpet is saturated. I’m disgusted with my treatment. I don’t want to live here any more – I want to move out.”

Fiona Williamson, Dacorum Borough Council’s group manager for Property and Place, said: “The leak was initially reported on November 17.

“An assessment was carried out the next day and a roofer attended on December 23.

“As a specific repair was needed, this was booked in for after Christmas.

“Unfortunately due to the wet weather conditions, the resident reported a ceiling collapse on December 31. Contractors attended that day to make the ceiling and light fitting safe.”

Ms Williamson said the porch roof is part of the balcony above, which is owned by a private resident.

They were asked to clear their balcony to allow for repair works to begin.

Ms Simpson’s ceiling has now been fixed.

She added: “We apologise for the delay in getting this porch roof repaired and we will be working with our contractors to improve reporting processes and make our response times faster.”