Sheffield council tenant left with soil pipe leaking into flat for three years

A vulnerable man has been living in a council flat in Sheffield with a broken soil pipe leaking into it for three years, in spite of calls by neighbours for the council to move him to a safer house.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 9:23 am

Paddy McNally, an electrician and plumber who lives nearby, said that he has been ‘passed from pillar to post’ when trying to arrange for better council accommodation for his vulnerable neighbour, who suffers from mental illness including schizophrenia.

Mr McNally befriended the man, who is called Doug and lives on Burnaby Green in Walkley, after he met him in Hillsborough, and said he had noticed him walking around the area on his own every day.

He spent some time getting to know Doug, and eventually they formed a friendship.

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The damage caused by the soil pipe that is leaking into Doug's flat.

Doug then began to ask Mr McNally for help with his housing situation.

“I got talking to Doug, and after a few weeks he plucked up the courage to ask me to come to his flat to fix a leak,” Mr McNally said.

“I went into the flat and I was shocked. I asked Doug how long he had been living like this and he said three years.

“I got in touch with the council and they said they had tried several times to get into the house. I know they have visited several times and they said they will deal with it, but no plans have been proposed to rectify the issue.

The damage caused by the soil pipe that is leaking into Doug's flat.

“And now I have been told by the council that the issue must be dealt with my the leaseholder who owns the flat above, because it is their soil pipe that is leaking.”

He added: “It is appalling that somebody is living in these conditions in this day and age. For the past three years he has been walking around outside all day, and only going home at 11pm to sleep in his bed, and then get up and leave in the morning.

“I am very worried about him. He struggles with his mental health, and this is making it a lot worse. He is so depressed and the poor man is losing the will to live.”

Mr McNally said that one time when he spoke to the council he was told that Doug would have to be moved into temporary accommodation in a different area.

The damage caused by the soil pipe that is leaking into Doug's flat.

However, he says that Doug is ‘petrified’ of this as, due to his mental health problems, he needs to be somewhere he knows well and feels safe.

“I know from my experience helping other people that once people are in temporary accommodation they are put on the back burner,” Mr McNally said.

“And if they move him out of the area he absolutely won’t be able to cope.

“There is not situation that could be a higher priority than this. Doug needs to be moved into a new council flat in Walkley. I know there are flats and bungalows available.”

The damage caused by the soil pipe that is leaking into Doug's flat.

Sheffield City Council have been approached for comment.

At the time of publication no response has been provided.