Council refutes ‘laziness’ claim after woman on troubled estate was left with ‘stinking’ leak

Pitcairn House. Image: Google

Hackney Council has defended itself against accusations of “laziness” from Pitcairn House residents – after a woman was left with foul-smelling brown water leaking into her kitchen for a week.

It is the latest in a long line of complaints from people living on the estate in central Hackney.

“Water was pouring in,” said Nuivene Facey, who lives with her family. “I had all these buckets full of brown, stinking water. It was like living in a sewer.”

The leak was reported to the council repairs team as an emergency, but it was a week before the problem was fixed.

Brown water collecting in Facey’s flat

A Town Hall spokesperson said workers were initially unable to access the flat above Facey’s home, where water was leaking from a bath waste pipe.

“This was an emergency situation – it’s unacceptable that it took this long to fix the leak in Nuviene’s flat,” said a representative of Pitcairn House’s newly formed residents’ group.

“Given that the council are aware of the issues at Pitcairn, at this point it just feels like laziness.”

When this was put to the council, the spokesperson said: “We refute claims of laziness regarding anyone in the council’s housing service.

“We have dedicated and hard-working officers across the service striving to deliver the best possible service for our tenants.”

Housing services strategic director, Steve Waddington, said: “While the most recent tenant satisfaction surveys show significant improvements – with the overall satisfaction level in the service rising from 52 per cent in 2022/23 to 59 per cent, meaning we are going in the right direction – we know there is still a lot of hard work to do to deliver the high-quality service we aspire to and that all of our residents deserve.”

In Facey’s flat, the leaks have caused mould to spread and kitchen cupboards to break. They have also damaged some of her wedding silver.

“Every day I’m wiping away the mould in the cupboards, but it keeps coming back,” she told the Citizen.

She said that, two weeks later, the smell is still “unbearable” even after scrubbing her kitchen with bleach.

“There are black flies everywhere,” she added.

At a residents’ meeting this week, Facey broke down in tears.

“I’ve been living like this [with leaks] for five, six years now. It’s only now that we’ve got people speaking up that the council are doing anything.

“Every day I thank God for this community.”

Deputy mayor and ward councillor Guy Nicholson attended the meeting and pledged to help residents.

His fellow ward councillors Anna Lynch and Robert Chapman did not attend.

Lynch apologised that she would not be able to make the meeting, but assured residents that one of the councillors would be in attendance.

Chapman did not respond to the residents’ invitation.