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Wickham Market woman Elaine Arnold at her wits’ end after years of issues with her home





A disabled woman has described being at her wits’ end after years of issues at her home, including a lack of heating and potential fire risks.

Elaine Arnold is desperate for housing association Newtide Homes, part of Flagship Group, to repair her faulty boiler along with water leaks from an outhouse roof dripping on to an electrical circuit board.

She said some windows at her Wickham Market home could not be locked, while the back door was coming away from the wall.

Elaine Arnold said the issues at her home were distressing. Picture: Elaine Arnold
Elaine Arnold said the issues at her home were distressing. Picture: Elaine Arnold

Newtide Homes said Mrs Arnold would be rehomed until her boiler is replaced, which is expected to take place today and other repairs will be carried out later.

Mrs Arnold, who lives in Barhams Way, suffers from mental and physical health conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

She also requires a wheelchair due to a spinal injury and has a guide dog.

Mrs Arnold said her boiler has been faulty since she moved to her home in 2020. Picture: Elaine Arnold
Mrs Arnold said her boiler has been faulty since she moved to her home in 2020. Picture: Elaine Arnold

Mrs Arnold told SuffolkNews she had lost count of the number of times she had contacted the company and, after four years of issues, has had enough.

She said: “These issues are affecting my life and that of my family. My flat has to be kept at 19°C to help with my breathing and stop me getting chest infections.

“Newtide have told me it would take about 12 to 18 months to fix the damage – but I can’t live like this that long. They’re going around in circles.

“My mental health is at rock bottom and my life here is hell.”

Her back door is coming away from its wall. Picture: Elaine Arnold
Her back door is coming away from its wall. Picture: Elaine Arnold

Earlier this week, Mrs Arnold said she had been told she would be put into temporary housing while the issue was fixed.

After being told to pack up, Mrs Arnold said she then informed she would not be rehomed.

To compensate her for being without heating Newtide provided her with electric heaters, which Mrs Arnold fears could burn her dog.

This leaky roof drips water onto an electric circuit board when it rains. Picture: Elaine Arnold
This leaky roof drips water onto an electric circuit board when it rains. Picture: Elaine Arnold

The said the stress from the experience had caused her to lose 18 stone in two years and caused sleepless nights.

Mrs Arnold added: “My boiler, door and roof have been like this since I moved in.

“There have been visits, but they were for pressure tests. My boiler has yet to be replaced after four years.”

Sam Greenacre, managing director of Newtide Homes, said the firm was doing everything it could to support Mrs Arnold.

He said he spoke with her personally on Friday and she is being provided with alternative accommodation until her boiler is replaced, which is expected to happen today.

Other repairs will take place later, he said.

“We’re also aware of the difficulties Mrs Arnold has closing her back door,” Mr Greenacre said.

“We’re going to replace the door and it is currently being prepared by the manufacturers. We will have the door replaced as soon as it is available.”

Repairs to the leaky roof will take place as soon as possible, he said.

Mr Greenacre added: “We have inspected the house’s windows and found they can open and shut as normal, but we appreciate this still poses a challenge for some people, and we are working with Mrs Arnold on a solution to this.”