Fury at decade of gas chaos

Margaret Hill and Richard Hallford
Margaret Hill and Richard Hallford

Angry North Motherwell householders are demanding an end to the gas misery that has plagued their block for 10 years.

Garage worker Richard Hallford and next door neighbour Margaret Hill say Scottish Gas Networks has failed totally to fix a mystery water seepage problem that regularly sees their homes deprived of heat and hot water.

When too much water leaks into the gas main serving their Pirnmill Avenue homes SGN is forced to turn off the supply, but repairs have so far failed to prevent the problem reoccurring.

Nevertheless SGN says it is “confident” that this time it has fixed the fault for good.

Mr Hallford, who says other neighbours feel the same, said: “We were deprived of gas on Christmas Day, of all days, and then again just the other day – and we’ve finally come to the end of our tether.

“This has been going on for 10 years. The gas workers who come to dig the road looking for the fault are by now completely embarrassed by what we’re being put through.”

He added: “I’ve got a grandchild staying here, and reliable heat and hot water is a basic essential we’ve been denied.

Neighbour Mrs Hill, in full agreement, said: “It is regularly freezing in our house, and impossible to wash properly – really it is a nightmare I keep hoping will finally end, but it never does.”

The mystery problem is regularly “solved”, say the householders, only to resurface again – sometimes after many weeks without a problem.

Mr Hallford said: “It is obviously leaks that are allowing mains water to get into the pipe – because the water they are pumping out is clear.

“But what I don’t understand is why they haven’t done everything it takes to solve this problem, digging up the entire street if necessary.”

A spokeswoman for Scottish Gas Networks said its repairs teams had identified the latest leak and repaired it, and that the site will now be monitored frequently “for the forseeable future” until it is confident it no longer needs to be checked.

She added that SGN have renewed Mr Hallford’s service pipe - the conduit which takes gas to his property, via the meter - at no cost to him. This means SGN workers won’t need access to his property in future.

SGN says factors such as possible damage to the local gas network could be responsible for the leaks problem.

It says it has invested a significant amount of resources to make repairs at Pirnmill Avenue - and is confident it has resolved the problem.

SGN says it has also provided Mr Hallford with direct contact numbers so he can get in touch immediately if there is any reoccurrence.