St Mary Cray mother left homeless for Christmas after roof of her block of flats falls in (From News Shopper)
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St Mary Cray mother left homeless for Christmas after roof of her block of flats falls in
A MOTHER left homeless after the roof of her block of flats caved in says her housing association did nothing, despite warnings the roof was unstable.
Natalie Hellard lives on the second floor of the Nugent Estate flats in Cray View Close, St Mary Cray, for which Affinity Sutton is responsible.
On December 23 the roof fell through, flooding the flats above where she lives and causing water to leak into her own flat.
Natalie Hellard with daughter Amber and neighbour Stephanie Corder in the damaged flat.
She and her three children, Lacey, four, Jack, three, and four-month-old Amber were forced to take refuge in her father's one bedroom flat in nearby Anglesea Road.
The 26-year-old said: "Back in 2009 the roof was constantly leaking and we kept saying to our housing officer that it needed fixing, but nothing was ever done about it.
"Then just before Christmas the roof completely caved in.
"It exposed all of upstairs, and I was told it is not safe to keep children in the building in case the roof collapses further.
"I had to move the children into my dad's tiny one bedroom flat because we had nowhere else to go.
"I was told I would be rehoused the next day on Christmas eve, and then again last Thursday, but I'm still in my dad's flat.
"It was horrible for us over Christmas.
"My dad was supposed to go on holiday but he cancelled his trip because he saw I was in such a state."
Miss Hellard says that every year since 2009 the residents of the Nugent Estate flats have warned Affinity Sutton of the problems with the roof.
Water leaks into Natalie Hellard's flat.
She added: "As residents we did everything we could but nothing was done.
"If the roof had been fixed when we said it needed fixing everything would be fine.
"The kids' Christmas was completely ruined. Many of their toys have been destroyed because of the flooding.
"It is just unacceptable how we have been treated."
More flat damage.
A spokeswoman for Affinity Sutton said: "We sympathise with those residents who were unable to stay in their property at Cray View Close over the Christmas period and understand the inconvenience this will have caused.
"Unfortunately the extreme weather conditions on December 23 caused considerable damage to the roof of Cray View Close, which was built approximately five years ago and is still under NHBC warranty.
"The emergency services, our maintenance contractors and housing management team all responded quickly and worked late on Christmas Eve to ensure residents were safe and to limit potential damage.
"All residents whose properties were affected by the incident were offered alternative accommodation at local hotels although some chose to stay with family.
"We are aware of a number of repairs made to the roof of Cray View Close prior to the incident on 23rd December and will be investigating these further.
"We would like to offer reassurance that we will work quickly to find alternative accommodation solutions for affected residents which will cause the least disruption to them and their families while the repair work is being undertaken."
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