Homeowners warned of poisoning risk

MORE than 260 homeowners living in new properties in Colchester have been warned that faults with their gas boilers could pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

Elliot Furniss

MORE than 260 homeowners living in new properties in Colchester have been warned that faults with their gas boilers could pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

Barratt Homes has sent letters to all residents in the Balkerne Heights and Horizon developments in the town, alerting them to the possible problems.

The company built both developments and now says it has concerns about the installation of gas central heating systems. The Balkerne Heights development has 179 flats and houses while Horizon has 90.


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Isabelle Loynes, a magazine writer who rents a house in the Balkerne Heights development, said she was alarmed by the letter and felt more should be done to eliminate the risk, which the company said came to light after a problem at one of the flats.

She said: “I didn't find the letter very reassuring. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very dangerous or even fatal.

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“They suggested we get in contact with British Gas and get someone out to check out the boiler system.”

Balkerne Heights is Barratt's flagship development and is close to the town centre. Work is still taking place to complete the site, which is made up of a mix of privately-owned and social housing properties.

Miss Loynes, who moved in to her home in May, said trying to resolve the matter had been “a nightmare”.

She added: “I think Barratt could have just sorted it out themselves. It's quite a big company and it's a bit strange that they have only just discovered this now.”

She said concerned neighbours had requested that the National Grid cut off the supply to appliances in their homes and were now waiting for British Gas engineers to give issue the green light and turn the gas back on.

Miss Loynes will be seen by an engineer later in the week.

A Barratt spokesman said the company had been made aware of a problem with one of the units installed in a flat in the town and had quickly contacted British Gas and written to residents in order to resolve the matter.

Carbon monoxide detectors are now being installed in all Barratt properties in the two developments as an added safety measure.

He said: “As a precautionary measure, we have asked British Gas to conduct checks on the central heating systems in the homes at Balkerne Heights.

“It has come to our attention that some central heating systems may not have been installed to the required standards, even though all the work was carried out by independent CORGI-registered engineers.

“All residents affected have been notified and carbon monoxide detectors are being installed for peace of mind.”

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