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Great-grandmother, 91, pleaded with council for weeks to come sort out floating sewage in her garden

PUBLISHED: 15:52 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:56 21 April 2020

Grace Blenman, 91, who couldn't go in her sewage swamped garden for weeks. Picture: Andrew Leslie

Grace Blenman, 91, who couldn't go in her sewage swamped garden for weeks. Picture: Andrew Leslie

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A 91-year-old great-grandmother who implored Brent Council to sort out recurring floating sewage in her garden has had a reprieve.

Sewage in 91-year-old Grace Blenman's garden. Picture: Andrew LeslieSewage in 91-year-old Grace Blenman's garden. Picture: Andrew Leslie

Grace Blenman, who lives in a council property in Walm Lane, said she felt “forgotten” by the council, which promised on March 13 to send a surveyor to her home – but they had still not visited by March 27.

After questions were raised by this paper, council officers cleared the sewage and have promised to look into why the problem recurs.

Mrs Blenman said the problem has been going on for at least 10 years, with officers coming to clear the drains then leaving. But then the problem recurs and they must come back.

Coronavirus lockdown rules enforced on March 23 compounded her discomfort.

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“I’m 91 and not supposed to be on the road and I couldn’t go into my garden at all,” she said. “Brent is not spending enough money to clear the drains. Twice a year I have to clear them because it’s all floating outside.”

Mrs Blenman, who has eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, suffers from arthritis. She said: “I can’t get any fresh air. I can’t open the back window because of the smell. It’s very, very bad, last time I had to disinfect the place after they came and cleared the drains, it had floated up to the kitchen door.”

She added: “I don’t think it’s fair for older people. I can’t communicate with people anymore, everything is online. I can’t use the internet, I’m 91, I don’t know how to use it. They forget about us.”

Her son, Andrew Leslie, 53, has been advocating for his mother saying the issue is “beyond a joke”. He believes a sewage pipe underground is cracked and leaking out of the concrete onto the ground and “coming through the brickwork as well”.

A council spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to Mrs Blenham for our delay in addressing the problems she has experienced in her garden. The delay was because the issue had been incorrectly categorised on our system.”

The spokesperson said a “more permanent solution” would be “put in place” following the results of a survey.


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