A BASINGSTOKE pensioner with disabilities said he was forced to endure freezing temperatures without heating or hot water for more than three weeks.

Michael Keyte, 78, who lives in Bolton Crescent, South Ham, said Sovereign, the housing association responsible for his home, "took forever" to resolve the issue despite repeated pleas for help. 

Mick, as he is affectionately called, said he wore multiple layers of clothing to combat the cold when his heater was not working.

Basingstoke Gazette: Michael 'Mick' Keyte with his dogs Poppy (left) and PepperMichael 'Mick' Keyte with his dogs Poppy (left) and Pepper (Image: Newsquest)

He said he and his two dogs – Poppy and Pepper – even had to survive the sub-zero weather two weeks ago with no heating and no hot water.

His heating was finally fixed on Friday, January 26, after the Gazette contacted Sovereign for a comment.

However, a spokesperson for Sovereign Network Group said Mick contacted the housing association only in the week starting on January 15 and it tried to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

But Mick disagreed with this claim and said he contacted the housing association before then. 

READ MORE: Sovereign and Network Homes have merged to become SNG

“It all started three weeks ago when my heating failed. I called the emergency number of Sovereign and they told me they would come to have a look after 72 hours.

“One of their men came on Monday and told me it would take 10 days to fix it because they didn’t have a part in stock.”

In a stroke of luck, a friend who happened to be an electrician provided temporary relief by showing him how to adjust the pressure to sustain the heater, albeit inconsistently.

However, this makeshift solution was short-lived, leaving Mick and his pets vulnerable to the harsh winter conditions.

SEE ALSO: Dogs Trust appeal for a home for crossbreed Harper

“They finally fixed the heating on Tuesday last week (January 23). But after this, a friend who was walking my dogs told me that she could smell a gas leak at my home. I couldn't smell it because I'm too old.

"So I called the emergency number of SGN and they sent someone to look at it. While no smell was detected, the technician said the pressure was too low, and he shut down the heating system for safety reasons. I was then told to call Sovereign at 8am the next day.

“I did the same and I was on call for hours and they were telling me that they would send someone in 24 hours. But I could be dead in 24 hours,” said Mick who has previously had two strokes.

“I’m a disabled man living alone with my dogs. This can’t go on.”

After Mick called the Gazette, we contacted SNG for a comment. An SNG engineer attended Mick's home shortly afterward and his heating was fixed.

An SNG spokesman said: "Mr Keyte first reported this to us last week and we have worked to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. An emergency visit was arranged within 24 hours of Mr Keyte's report, but we were initially unable to gain access. Our engineer returned later that day and completed a temporary fix and confirmed that the hot water and central heating was working. 

"We completed our full repairs on Thurdsay (January 25), however, in the time between the gas company SGN made a separate visit to cap the gas at the property to address an unrelated safety issue.

"We have continued to work closely with Mr Keyte throughout and have offered for our engineers to visit and uncap the supply on Friday afternoon (January 26)."