A FAMILY in Crewkerne claim they have been forced to live in a hotel for a month because of a lack of help from a housing agency after their home was flooded.

Millie Wiltshire arrived home in the early hours of January 14 to discover a pipe had burst and her ground-floor flat had flooded. The water reached above her ankles but it was still rising.

She said: “I ran into my flat to see if I could find where the water was coming from. I then went out into the hallway and found it coming from one of the cupboards.”

Chard & Ilminster News:

Millie rushed outside and called property owner Yarlington Housing Group’s emergency out-of-hours number. A plumber found the main stop valve and it allegedly snapped off because it was so rusty. Wessex Water was called and the home finally stopped filling at around 4am.

Millie said the flood and a severed water supply rendered her, partner Ashley, Mackenzie, three, and six-year-old Lily homeless. She also said Yarlington’s emergency accommodation number went straight to voicemail.

Millie said: “We managed to find somewhere to stay that night. I called Yarlington on January 14, at about 3pm, to ask if they were going to accommodate us as it was their pipe that burst and was not our fault. The lady told me on the phone to call back in the morning - as it was a weekend, they couldn’t help.

“I tried to explain I had two kids and nowhere to go but they were not interested.”

Chard & Ilminster News:

Fortunately for Millie and her family, South Somerset District Council paid for them to stay at the George Hotel, Crewkerne, for one night. As the family was on the brink of being forced into a homeless shelter in Yeovil, their insurance company agreed to pay for them to stay at the hotel until January 29. But two weeks on Millie says Yarlington has still not helped them and their flat remains uninhabitable.

The family continues to share a hotel room with the insurance company extending their stay until February 13. The children have to sleep together on a sofa bed. Yarlington Housing Group is still charging the couple £67 a week rent despite the flat’s condition.

Millie added: “I’ve contacted Yarlington every day since the incident and they still refuse to give us any hope of being rehomed. My insurance company has removed damaged goods and stored my belongings while the flat is repaired.”

Chard & Ilminster News:

A Yarlington spokesperson confirmed a burst pipe in the communal area of a block of flats resulted in four flats suffering water damage.

The spokesman said: “Once Yarlington was made aware of the leak, necessary repairs were undertaken including removing water and providing dehumidifiers. As a result of the flood, three households have been moved into temporary accommodation provided by the local authority, or are staying with family.

“We are working with families during this challenging time and are carrying out repairs to ensure residents can return home as soon as possible. We continue to investigate the cause and have entered conversation with the managing company for the building to ensure his does not happen again.”