Highcroft: Highgate residents feel the chill as heating is turned off on April 1

Resident John Field outside Highcroft on North Hill Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Resident John Field outside Highcroft on North Hill Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

After a positively tropical weekend, it would be easy to forget the cold weather we had at the start of April.

Highcroft on North Hill Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highcroft on North Hill Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

One group having no trouble remembering are those living in Highgate's Highcroft building, whose heating was switched off on April 1 and won't be back on until October.

Highcroft residents, who are a mix of owners and renters, initially thought the heating system had broken. However after speaking to managing agents for the property, they found that the decision had been made by a management committee, elected by those who own flats in the property.

John Field, who has lived there for five and a half years, said: "We weren't told. Some of us then contacted Lewis and Tucker, which is the agent for the block who said the boiler wasn't broken, it had been turned off instead."

"It's getting warmer, but it was down to 5 degrees at the start of this month. I work from home, so I had an electric heater on. I was getting dressed in my bathroom in the morning as it was the only room with any warmth at that time. There's people who are disabled here, and people with small children. It's not healthy for them."

The heating period is set out in the lease put together in 2006. Every person who owns a share of the freehold would need to agree to change the terms.

All freeholders in Highcroft have a share in the parent company, Church Road Estates, enabling them to have a say in the decision making process. Those who rent do not directly have a say.

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Lewis and Tucker's Alex Norman said: "We have to follow the contract, as it is set out, as per the terms set out when we took on its management.

"I do care and we spend a lot of time [on residents' concerns]. We do a lot more than other agencies."

A statement from the management committee said: "There have been no complaints from flat owners to the managing committee regarding the heating. Complaints by sub-tenants about their lease conditions must be made to their own landlord/flat owner. The managing committee will consider concerns raised by a flat owner, including a request to vary the heating period, but an instruction to Lewis and Tucker to make any changes will only be made after consultation with all of the flat owners of Highcroft."

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