Tenants are living without hot water and heating in multi-million pound tower block development

The Heights in Bedford.
The Heights in Bedford.
  • Boiler problems means those in social housing are without hot water and heating
  • Tenants say building is plagued with problems
  • The first three floors of the former BT building are dedicated to social housing
  • Tenants feel ‘embarrassed’ as they are forced to use a separate entrance to those living in plusher private properties

Tenants at a multi-million pound Bedford development that was celebrated when it opened just four years ago are going without hot water and heating.

Mum of two Chanel Maddix says the boilers regularly break down and they also have to live with faulty lifts and broken door buzzers at The Heights.

Inside The Heights, Bedford.

Inside The Heights, Bedford.

She lives within the social housing section of the St John’s Road tower block – based on the first three floors and accessed via a separate entrance to those living above in private homes.

“There has been endless times when we have had no hot water and no heating, it’s just constant,” said the 24 year old.

“Our building is literally falling apart. It should be deemed derelict, it’s not safe for anyone especially our children.”

She has lived on the third floor with her two sons, aged five and two, under Genesis Housing Association for almost four years.

The former BT building was redeveloped into a 13 storey complex of apartments and officially opened by Bedford Borough’s Mayor in 2011.

The hot water and heating went off again for social housing tenants on Good Friday and managing agent Mainstay is waiting for parts to carry out repairs.

Chanel says promised electric heaters have never arrived. She said: “We are having to kettle wash the kids. From about 5pm it is literally freezing.

Tenants also complain of damp and a lack of facilities for their children.

“We are like prisoners,” said Chanel. “The lift breaks. There were times when I was six months pregnant when I was having to carry my other little one up the stairs with my shopping.”

Meanwhile, those living privately above the third floor, where a two-bedroom penthouse with roof terrace has an estimated worth of £237,354, live in plush surroundings with access to a private gym and car parking.

Chanel said: “It is embarrassing. You just feel ashamed.

“Why are there two separate entrances? It’s treating us like poorer class citizens.

“I think it is disgusting.”

A spokesman for Genesis said: “Unfortunately Mainstay have informed us that they have been experiencing problems with the pipework to the communal boiler system, which has resulted in recurring leaks and them having to turn the system off in order to carry out essential repairs.

“Mainstay are waiting for parts to be delivered following the most recent leak, and have put up notices for residents to keep them informed and apologise for the inconvenience.

“They will be carrying out a full site survey so they can put together a programme for replacing any defective pipework.”