Complaints about damp are washed away amid maintenance concerns

Residents at the Well Hall Tower block have suffered from a catastrophic failure of their water tanks this week leading to a massive flood flowing through the flats, leaving the lifts broken and electricity off.  Life is slowly returning to normal this weekend, but concerns remain about the damage to residents’ property and the lack of maintenance at the block which led to it.


The flooding happened last Sunday night, with all of the blocks 44 flats suffering water damage. The lifts failed in the deluge and ceiling lights were disconnected to stop any potential harm to residents. 


It is understood the flood was caused by an overflowing tank, where the ball-cock had failed when Thames Water switched the water back on after they had repaired a leak on nearby Well Hall Road.  The failure of the ball-cock may be due to lack of maintenance, with a Council report last year noting that Greenwich has “consistently well below average expenditure on both management and maintenance”.  Eltham Councillors Spencer Drury and Adam Thomas met with the Director of Housing John Clark during the week to discuss the situation and ensure that plans were in place to repair the damage.


Cllr Spencer Drury had presented a petition at the last full meeting of Greenwich Council asking that the problems with damp in the Well Hall Tower block were dealt with.  Spencer said “It appears that the problems with damp have been washed away over the course of this week.  All residents will now need to have their properties properly treated to ensure that the water damage is repaired and further damp issues are prevented. 


Spencer continued “I am pleased that Council Officers reacted so quickly to the problems, with staff on site within an hour of the leak being reported and arranging for dehumidifiers & aqua vacs to help the clean up process. They should be congratulated for their hard work in this difficult situation.  However, I feel that there is a political element to all this, with Labour’s decision to leave a £12m hole in the accounts for Council Housing reducing the funds available for maintenance, which may well have stopped this flood.  I believe that this is a cynical, political decision as with Council elections coming up, Labour don’t want to impose charges now, but are quite clearly intending to after the 2014 elections.”


Since presenting the petition (and prior to the flood), Spencer has met Council Officers at the block to discuss the installation of cladding around the building to improve insulation and reduce the damp.  It is understood that a bid has subsequently been submitted for the Well Hall Tower Block through the Energy Company Obligation funding element of the Green Deal.