Fury as upmarket block left without heating for a month

FED-UP residents in an upmarket city housing development say temperatures plummeted to -11C inside their homes after a communal boiler providing heat for dozens of apartments packed in.

Couples, families and retired people living at Granton's Upper Strand, modern apartments overlooking the Forth, say they have been left without heat for much of this month after the main boiler and its back-up broke down.

Residents have complained to providers Switch 2 Energy Solutions and building management firm Charles White.

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Many of the those living in the one, two and three-bedroom flats say they spent Christmas without heating.

Pamela Duffy, a sales executive who has lived at Upper Strand for six months with partner Noel Tait, a British Gas sales coach, said: "At one point it was -11C outside and the cold was coming right in. We have really big windows and it was as cold inside as it was outside.

"We had to sleep fully dressed and huddle up on the sofa with the duvet. Now we're both all stuffed up with a cold.

"It's been a nightmare."

Residents said the problems began in early December as the snow fell and sub-zero temperatures set in.

Miss Duffy, 30, said: "The heating and water went off for nine days at the start of the month. The engineer came out to see the boiler but it's gone again every week since then. It even went at 7.30am on Christmas Day.

"Different residents who have got hold of the engineer have been told different stories and we still don't know what's causing the breakdowns."

Miss Duffy said Switch 2, which is based in England, had apologised in a letter, but that the problem was not yet fixed.

In 2007, one-bedroom apartments at Upper Strand were expected to sell for up to 220,000, however, many are now run by Charles White and Places for People and rented out.

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Although there are around 350 on the site, it is not known exactly how many have been affected.

On the Upper Strand's community message board yesterday many residents voiced their anger at being left without heating throughout this month.

One said: "Surprise surprise, just got home to still no heating and hot water. This has been since approximately 10pm last night."

Another responded: "We're in the same boat as you - no heating or hot water all day since I've been up at 5.30am. Phoned and left a message for the engineer.

"Just finished my complaint letter a couple of days ago, it's sitting waiting to be posted, may have to open it up and add a few more lines of ranting."

Speaking about residents helping each other out, another added: "Any support either way is much appreciated at times like this when your (sic] sitting in an ice box."

No-one from Switch 2 or Charles White in Edinburgh was available to comment on the situation last night..