Buxton woman facing Christmas without a home after flat flooded with raw sewage

A Buxton woman is facing being homeless this Christmas after the communal waste pipes in her block of flats burst – filling her home with raw sewage.
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Rebecca Blunden has been living out of a carrier bag after the sewage began to flood her flat – while she was in the shower.

And Rebecca, who has lived at Chatsworth Lodge for 16 years, now fears she won’t be home for Christmas as it is not safe for her to return at the moment.

The 45-year-old said: “I was in the shower and raw sewage was coming up out of the plughole.”

Rebecca Blunden in her wrecked flat which was flooded with human excrementRebecca Blunden in her wrecked flat which was flooded with human excrement
Rebecca Blunden in her wrecked flat which was flooded with human excrement

The flat then flooded with sewage.

Her landlord Great Places promised the flat would be cleaned and Rebecca could come back within 24 hours.

She was told to pack an overnight bag and was put up in the Palace Hotel. However, more than two weeks later she is still there and says the flat is not fit to return to.

She said: “The sewage got everywhere. The dirty and unsafe water got into my laminate flooring which is all warped and has been pulled up. It’s vile.

Rebecca BlundenRebecca Blunden
Rebecca Blunden

"The cleaning team have replaced my bath panel but they didn’t clean under the bath and it’s disgusting.

"There is still a splatter of human waste on a picture I have hanging on the wall. The flat has not been cleaned and I don’t want to move back when it’s like this. The bacteria will be everywhere.

"It’s not my fault but I feel I’m being punished for saying it's not safe.”

The problems with the drains started after nappies were found blocking the pipes.

Rebecca BlundenRebecca Blunden
Rebecca Blunden

This continued until the drains burst at the beginning of December.

She said: "There are six flats all connected and every time someone flushed or turned on their tap the waste was coming into my bathroom.”

Now Rebecca is having to face the prospect of finding somewhere else to live just before Christmas.

She said: “This is my home. I can’t keep living out of a carrier bag in a hotel but I can’t go back home when it’s still so dirty.”

Rebecca Blunden's flat flooded with human waste after the drains became blockedRebecca Blunden's flat flooded with human waste after the drains became blocked
Rebecca Blunden's flat flooded with human waste after the drains became blocked

Rebecca contacted High Peak MP Robert Largan for help.

He said: “I’m very disappointed Great Places are trying to force Rebecca back into a flat which is filthy, stained and without any flooring.

“I’ve been working with councillors to ensure Great Places keep Rebecca in temporary accommodation until her current flat is repaired or she is offered a suitable alternative."

Simon Robinson, Director of Neighbourhoods at Great Places, said: “As a responsible landlord we try and resolve issues like this quickly and first time but on this occasion we haven’t got everything right, and we are sorry for the upset this has caused Ms Blunden.

“We acknowledge there are number of repairs still outstanding and we’re still working with Ms Blunden to resolve these issues to ensure the work is completed to her satisfaction.

“We have organised alternative accommodation and provided emergency food and clothing for Ms Blunden and we will continue to provide the necessary support until she can return home.”

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