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A water leak damages the family’s £1million home and forces them to live in a makeshift cabin

A family were forced out of their £1million home and into a pocket cabin – after floods caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, they say. A huge amount of water poured under the Catlings’ four-bedroom property near Aylesbury, Bucks. This caused significant damage – meaning they had to move out temporarily while the problem was fixed. Julia Catling, 54, software engineer husband Karl Catling, 55, and their two children Hollie Catling, 24, and Gracie Catling, 19, now live in “essentially a caravan”. And they say their insurers will be looking to recover the money they lost from Thames Water. Thames Water said the matter is currently with its insurers and solicitors and has been in contact with the family. Julia said: “They are continuing to prevent water pipes and save water, but we have millions of gallons put under us. “We have horses on the property and we can’t leave them unattended here. We basically have to live in a caravan.Julia, who works in the equestrian industry, said she was first alerted to the issue in March 2020. She says she saw Thames Water engineers appearing outside the house, who cited apparently there was low water pressure in the area. They then returned to the property in June of that year and reportedly dug up a 20-foot stretch of road from the house. That summer, Julia says she began to notice water pooling on the ground as well as damp patches and cracks in the walls of the house. And in August 2020 the property flooded through the foundations. Julia decided to investigate the area where Thames Water was working and to her horror, she found out running water. The property was reportedly flooded with millions of gallons of water, meaning the family were eventually forced to move out of the house while works took place. The riding area where Julia’s equestrian center is based has been severely affected by the floods. And the water even meant that Julia’s daughter was forced to change her wedding plans – as she was to be married at the house on Saturday, April 8 this year. Julia said: “During the summer of 2020, the house showed a lot of dampness and cracking but it is an old house. “In August the house flooded through the foundations with heavy rain and alarm bells started going off. “It turned out that Thames Water had discovered a leak months ago, but because they thought it was running into the field next to us, they didn’t fix it. “The main pipe removed the house and the land and flooded them. “The water went under the riding area and destroyed that, what’s left of the lounge is wet, the fence on our ground is mulled and the ground got so wet in the winter. “It’s a big disruption for us that my daughter was supposed to get married out of the house last weekend and now we couldn’t keep that at home.” The interference does not go beyond anyone’s understanding. “The house is completely detached at the moment and we’re in a series of mobile cabins that connect together, it’s so basic. “We’ve been there since May 2022 and won’t be back in the house until August. “They came and fixed it but that failed a year later and it flooded again two weeks ago [in March 2023]. “They need to be aware of what can happen when they leave these leaks running near people’s homes. “Thames Water made no effort to come out and talk to us – they were not concerned.” A Thames Water spokesman said: “The customer’s claim is currently with our insurers and solicitors, and we have contacted the customer directly to update them on our progress with this matter.”

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