23rd Mar, 2019

The Standard steps in to help couple in need of a modern water pipe

Ross Crawford 13th Oct, 2018

YEARS of living with water pressure so low it would burn out an electric shower and take 20 minutes to fill a bath are coming to an end for a Redditch couple and their neighbours – after the Standard stepped in.

Grange Road home was built in Victorian times and served by a cast iron water pipe.

But, 130 years later, it had become so badly pitted, corroded and leaky as to be ‘like a Farley’s rusk’ said Simon, aged 71.

Fearing they were living with a health hazard, the water giant asked Severn Trent to help, but they refused as the water pipe runs through private land, the couple’s garden.

Reluctant to contact their insurer, HomeServe, for fear they weren’t covered, they contacted borough councillor Mark Shurmer (Lab, Lodge Park).

He too was rebuffed by Severn Trent, so he contacted Redditch MP Rachel Maclean, who met the same response.

Undaunted, Coun Shurmer contacted the Redditch Standard and told us of the elderly couple’s plight.

“The mains runs down St George’s Road and then across several back gardens to service the homes in Grange Road,” said Coun Shurmer.

“But the pipe is 130 years old, it leaks and the couple can’t have an electric shower, because the motor burns out, or a combi boiler.

“Severn Trent told me they weren’t obliged to do the work as it was on private land.”

The Standard met the same response from the water company, but insurers Homeserve were more receptive.

We asked Susan and Simon to put in a claim to check if they were covered and found they were.

HomeServe immediately sent out a plumber and they agreed to do the job – and on eight other properties in the road too.

A HomeServe spokesperson said: “As soon as Mr Stubbs raised a claim we visited his property and established the water supply pipe, used by all nine houses on his terrace needed replacing.

“It would not have helped Mr Stubbs, and could have had negative consequences on his neighbours were we to replace only his portion of the pipe so we’re installing an entirely new pipe across all nine properties.

“Mr Stubbs is happy he’ll see a difference in his water supply and we’re glad to have been able to provide a great service.”

A delighted Simon said: “It’s absolutely brilliant! I am amazed it will all be sorted after all this time. I just cannot believe it. Thank you so much.”

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