Anger as Linslade residents ‘refused’ compensation by Anglian Water

Linslade residents were bursting with anger after Anglian Water informed them that they would not receive compensation after December’s faulty valve disaster.

Residents of The Wharf were fuming after the company stated that there would be no reimbursement because the pressure at their flats “did not drop below the threshold of seven metres per head”. Although as the LBO went to press last night the company was backtracking.

Residents of The Wharf (with Sam, middle) hold letters from AW which they received before Christmas. The letters explained the 12 hour compensation scheme. Credit: Sam.

Residents of The Wharf (with Sam, middle) hold letters from AW which they received before Christmas. The letters explained the 12 hour compensation scheme. Credit: Sam.

Residents claim that all 180 homes were left without water during the weekend of December 14, when workmen battled to fix a faulty valve that left 20,000 households in the Leighton-Linslade area with dormant taps.

Sam Bay, who lives at The Wharf, told the LBO: “I was off the supply from late Friday evening until Sunday night.

“I had to stay with my parents for the weekend, but I know residents who went to Tesco to collect bottled water, and Anglian were taking down their names and addresses. They have data to show that people from The Wharf had gone there.

“I saw emergency water being delivered to a vulnerable resident, while another resident posted on The Wharf Facebook group to say that she had taken water from the canal to flush her toilet.

“People were feeling angry but this has compounded the anger. Because a ‘sensor’ has said something, essentially we’re all liars?”

She added: “We were without water for one of the longest periods and they are not showing us the goodwill that the rest of the town has seen.”

Before Christmas residents were told by Anglian Water that for every 12 hours after the first 12 hours without water, families would receive £30 compensation.

But The Wharf residents were informed recently that pressure monitors “connected at strategic locations throughout the network” had not recorded low enough readings to warrant any payment.

Sam claimed: “I work for a company in the water industry and the pressure sensors would generally be at a pumping station rather than in specific areas.

“How on earth would Anglian Water know the pressure for The Wharf let alone the difference between a flat on the ground floor and one on the third?”

Cllr Stephen Jones, of Leighton-Linslade Town Council, said: “I have to be fair to Anglian Water, during the time they were pretty quick and effective, and I think there’s bound to be teething problems with new developments.

“I have been assured they are looking at it and going to remedy it. If residents are saying they were without water for 48 hours what can they [Anglian Water] do?

“It’s probably a glitch in Anglian Water’s system. Let’s hope they can sort it quickly.”

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Beds, said: “I am very disappointed that Anglian Water are not accepting the word of a group of residents about the fact

that they had no water.

“Given the very serious nature of this failure, I expect Anglian Water to act promptly, generously and fairly. I will be making this point to Peter Simpson their Chief Executive when I meet him.”

A spokesman for Anglian Water told the LBO yesterday afternoon: “Further to investigations this weekend we have identified some customers living in The

Wharf and Town Bridge Mill areas of Leighton Linslade who were incorrectly informed that they would not be receiving compensation following the loss of water they experienced over the weekend of December 13-16.

“This incident affected a large number of our customers and it has been a complex challenge to understand the degree of impact we had in various parts of Leighton Linslade, however we would like to apologise to those customers and we will be automatically refunding them as quickly as possible.”

Sam thanked the LBO and Leighton Buzzard Radio for taking on their story and helping to obtain an answer from Anglian Water.