KITCHENS in a new-build estate in Wallingford flooded overnight due to the cold weather.

Residents were shocked to wake up and find pools of water in their new Bloor Homes based on an estate in Crowmarsh Gifford last weekend.

Due to the temperatures reaching lows of -9C, water in the pipes had frozen and expanded causing the pipes to burst and leak into people’s homes.

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After resident’s raised the issue with Bloor Homes, a housing development company that finished the first phase of the estate in June last year, the housebuilder posted an ‘urgent’ letter to the 150 homes.

It said: “Winter rules: Make sure the stopcock isolator valve to any outside tap is shut off and drained down during frosty weather.”

The letter appeared to be copied from an advice manual that residents are given when they moved into the homes.

Oxford Mail: The letter sent in by a residentThe letter sent in by a resident (Image: n/a)

The stopcock isolators valves also have a tag warning people to turn the taps off during the winter.

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Some residents also noticed a lot of condensation in their attics causing damage to items that had been stored there.

One resident, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “I was away at the weekend so if it hadn’t been for a neighbour feeding our cats we never would have known about the outside valve.

“It’s scary to think we could have come home to a flooded house. I’ve checked our attic which does have a lot of condensation and I’m not worried but it does seem to be part of a bigger issue.”

Councillor Sue Roberts, who represents Wallingford on South Oxfordshire District Council, said the issues residents were facing is part of a bigger issue of homes being built ‘inadequately’.

“This is awful,” she said. “This pressure to build new homes than we need means they are being thrown up.

“There are going up too fast and without due care and attention. What we should be building, as we are in a climate emergency with the world heating up at a ridiculous rate, is houses to an extremely high standard.

“In this case it sounds like they haven’t insulated the external pipes which you need to do or of course you will have leaks.

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“It’s just so sad. We need to learn how to build houses properly in this country. We also have houses being built without the proper infrastructure such as GPs and nurseries – no nurseries mean people can’t go to work.

“What on earth is going on?”

A spokesperson for Bloor Homes said: "Shortly before our customers move in, they meet with our site manager for a home demonstration during which he provides an explanation of everything in their property.

"During this demonstration customers are told of the importance of isolating the stop cock isolator valve to their outside tap and shown how to do this.  

"Our plumbers attach a label to the stop cock isolator valve, under the sink, as a reminder to do this once the customer has moved in.

"A further reminder is included on within our New Home Guide, which all customers receive.

"In view of the sudden change in temperatures experienced recently we took it upon ourselves to distribute a copy of the relevant page from the booklet to each of our customers as a further reminder of what they should do during frosty weather.

"We are genuinely sorry to hear what has happened during the recent cold spell but feel we have acted responsibility and diligently in the advice that we have offered to avoid these incidents occurring.

"We have also assisted affected homeowners by providing emergency assistance to restore the mains water supply to their home and offered advice on how best to resolve any water damage that might have occurred."


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