A FAMILY who had to move out of their home for nearly a week because they had no access to water is seeking financial compensation from a housing developer.

Mum Gemma Knowles, 31, her partner, Andrew Bolland, 36, and her three children, Josh Knowles, 10, Dominic Bolland, 13, and one-year-old Penelope Bolland, were unable to use the toilet, kitchen taps or shower in their detached house in Darwen last week.

An underground water pipe, which feeds into their home, had frozen in the cold weather after being taken above ground three weeks ago by McDermott Homes, who are working on a housing development next door to the family’s Cranberry Lane house.

Ms Knowles  described the situation as horrendous and said: “I could not flush toilets, had no heating and no water and I have a baby who is only one.” United Utilities supplied an emergency water tank but last Thursday the supply ran out, Ms Knowles said.

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A UU spokesman said: “Gemma contacted us when her water went off on January 31 but when our engineer went out we discovered that the problem was not on our pipes. As she was at home with a young child we installed a temporary supply of drinking water. Fortunately her water has now been restored.”

McDermott Homes is a north west housing company set up in 1992. Ms Knowles said the company advised the family to stay in temporary accommodation. She added that the company’s customer service team told them they would be fully compensated for hotel costs.

The couple spent £522 on accommodation in two hotels in Darwen - Whitehall Hotel and Country Club, from Thursday to Friday, and Premier Inn Blackburn South, from Saturday to Sunday. 

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But after the family moved back into their home on Monday, with water restored and the pipe re-buried, Ms Knowles said the family have been refused financial compensation and have been told to seek legal advice.

Ms Knowles, who works at a children’s support centre in Blackburn, said: “It has been horrendous. My baby has been ill and really unsettled, dragging her from pillar to post for the last few days.

“I have signed off work and suffered from depression and anxiety, and  this has made me hit rock bottom.”

The former Darwen Moorland High School pupil added: “I’m upset because no one wants to help. McDermott Homes is a multi-million pound company and has not been supportive at all.” McDermott Homes has refused to comment.