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Water problems in St John's Wood took longer to fix because of 'unfortunate timing' of asbestos work

PUBLISHED: 13:16 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:17 27 September 2019

Reynolds House, St John's Wood. Picture: Google

Reynolds House, St John's Wood. Picture: Google

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Private tenant Steven Hackwell, a filmmaker who only moved into a flat in the building a month ago, was shocked when what is thought to have been a burst water main saw service fail on September 18.

But a week later, despite repeated complaints to both the council and its contractors, Steven still didn't have water.

Steven, 35, lives with his partner and told the Wood&Vale: "Last week they were in our boiler room doing work. While they were doing the work, we lost our water completely."

After being contacted by this newspaper, senior contractors were able to return to the site, and Steven said the situation had, temporarily been resolved, but yesterday morning Wednesday morning again water was not getting to his flat.

The council explained that asbestos works had been long-planned and the find did not present a risk to residents.

But the town hall accepted that "unfortunately this has complicated matters a little and the timing has been unfortunate."

Steven criticised the council response, and said it had been incredibly difficult to get to the bottom of the issue.

The council has delivered some drinking water to those affected, but this hasn't been enough.

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"We can't wash plates, we can't wash ourselves or flush the toilet," he said. "They said they had a leak. It was fixed then the water was on for 30 minutes, but since then, nothing.

"I have spoken to 18 different people, all have given contradictory stories.

"They just said, 'there's nothing we can do because of the asbestos'."

"We were told initially we would be put in a hotel, but then at the end of Friday they said that wasn't the case.

"Luckily we have a very good agent who's been able to put us in a hotel, but that's not the leaseholder's responsibility."

A Thames Water spokesperson told this newspaper that as this was an internal issue at the building, they were not involved.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Westminster Council spokesperson said: "On Thursday we were made aware by Thames Water of a burst water main affecting Reynolds House. This had been fixed by Friday. Drinking water was provided to residents.

"There have been some problems in restoring the right level of water pressure following the outage. This affected a small number of flats in the block, but we understand hot water was still available.

"Everything is now working, but if there are any other problems then residents should let us know."

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