A PENSIONER was left living in freezing temperatures after being given a housing association home with no heating.

Leona Steen, 70, moved into her home in Earls Colne on Monday as temperatures plummeted to below freezing.

The Dudley Road property belongs to Eastlight Community Homes.

Leona said: "When I first viewed it, it was a complete wreck and had to be refurbished."

The work was carried out but when she moved her oil-fired central heating didn't work.

Leona's new neighbours rallied round and lent her an electric heater to fend off the cold.

She also wrapped herself in blankets in a desperate bid to keep warm.

"If it hadn't been for my neighbours lending me a heater I wouldn't have had any heating at all," she said.

"It was minus two degrees in there this morning.

"Eastlight sent people round to have a look at the heating system but because it was newly installed they said they couldn't touch it and I'd have to go back to Eastlight.

"Eastlight said they they would supply some heaters but but I've already spent £400 on heating oil.

"I've had electric heaters on since I've been here. I can't afford to pay for it on my pension."

Leona, who has osteoporosis and suffered a heart attack last year, moved to Earls Colne from the Mulberries sheltered housing in South Street, Braintree - also run by Eastlight.

Halstead Gazette: Eastlight Homes provided this desk-top fan to heat Leona Steen's two-bed bungalow after the central heating didn't work Eastlight Homes provided this desk-top fan to heat Leona Steen's two-bed bungalow after the central heating didn't work (Image: Paul Clay)

She says there have been other problems in her new home, such as no grab rails.

"The whole thing is a shambles," she said.

"When I viewed it they knew I needed a low-level shower but they haven't put a seat in there, and now the heating isn't working."

Eastlight was formed in 2020 by the merger of Colne Housing and Greenfields Community Housing.

Leona said: "It's completely gone downhill since then. Things were bad enough even before I moved."

Neighbour Brian Clay said: "How can a housing association, knowing the weather is going to go downhill, put someone into accommodation without testing the heating system properly?

"It's a joke - it really is a joke."

Eastlight provided Leona with a small table-top fan heater to warm her two-bedroom bungalow, but are now paying for her to stay in a hotel in Braintree after the Gazette contacted them.

Barbara Marsh, housing services director at Eastlight Community Homes, said:

“I’m very sorry for the heating issues that our resident has experienced since moving into her new home, and I apologise on Eastlight’s behalf.

“Our service fell short of the standards our residents should expect from us, especially during this cold weather.

“We will visit to repair the boiler tomorrow (Friday, 1 December) and we have arranged hotel accommodation until this issue is resolved.”