REQUESTS for council house repairs have shot up fivefold in Gravesham following the recent storms with almost 900 reports last week.

The extreme weather is causing problems for both tenants and council’s repairs teams who are asking residents to remain patient.

Missing and hazardous roof tiles causing leaks and broken fences are the main problems but the crews are also struggling with lack of replacement materials.

The soggy ground also means most fencing repairs cannot be done.

Requests for damage inspections peaked at 873 last week – compared to a last winter’s figure of 118. The backlog has come down but there are still 505 outstanding, despite concerted efforts to tackle them as quickly as possible.

A council spokesman said: "We are doing everything we can and we thank tenants for their understanding and patience.

"We are prioritising the very worst cases but clearly they are often the ones which take the most time to rectify.  Inevitably there will be delays with a backlog this size but be assured everything is being done to clear the problem as quickly as possible.

"It would help us if people did not call repeatedly when we have already received their details.

"Ordinarily we would expect to deal with about 10 requests for repair inspections every day but over the storm period and its aftermath that rose to more than 50 a day.

"This situation is being experienced nationwide as is the shortage of replacement materials."