Anger at week of power cuts at Fairfax Flats in Otley

Wharfedale Observer: Patricia Jacques, who is a resident at Fairfax Flats Patricia Jacques, who is a resident at Fairfax Flats

Residents in Otley have attacked a housing organisation for leaving them without lights in the midst of winter – for the second time in three years.

Tenants at Fairfax Flats, which are now managed directly by Leeds City Council, lost their night-time lighting on Thursday, December 12.

Concerned about the safety implications, resident Patricia Jacques immediately reported the fault as urgent to Leeds City Council’s out of hours service.

But it took seven days and, eventually, pressure from local ward councillors before the lights were finally fixed last Thursday, December 19.

For the tenants, the experience brought back unwelcome memories of December, 2011, when the exact same thing – with the flats at the time being managed by West North West Homes for Leeds – happened.

Mrs Jacques, 78, said: “It has taken a full week to get this fixed, despite me ringing to report it as an emergency and then chase them, and the fact that the same thing happened here at Christmas-time two years ago.

“It really beggars belief – we’ve had people trying to get in and out of their apartments in the pitch black, and some of the tenants are quite elderly or infirm.

“I’m glad it’s finally been sorted out but the different departments at West North West Homes and Leeds City Council need to communicate properly with each other to get the job done right, and to react much quicker.

“They’d sent a second person out in the evening last Thursday after the first one had been and fixed it, so they really can’t be talking to one another.

“I’m not sure how I’d rate them out of ten – how far below zero can you get?”

Councillors Colin Campbell, Ryk Downes and Sandy Lay (all Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) all took up the issue after being alerted to it last Wednesday by the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer, on behalf of Mrs Jacques.

The reply they received from a council officer acknowledged that the level of service had fallen below what it should have been and accepted that the lack of lighting would have been “distressing” for vulnerable residents, and vowed to address it urgently.

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