STORMS and bad weather sparked hundreds of calls for emergency repairs at homes across Basildon, it has been revealed.

More than 2,000 complaints were raised with Basildon Council between October and December last year, with more than 30 per cent linked to emergency repairs caused by inclement weather.

A Basildon Council meeting last week heard that a lack of available tradespeople had also led to a delay in response times.

Morgan Sindall Property, the company contracted by the council to manage home repairs, pointed to a series of storm within the last three months of the year which had led to an increase in calls for repairs.

During the meeting, Conservative councillor for Billericay East Andrew Schrader said that “repairs often dominate” his email inbox, but that it is “Basildon Council’s aim to offer a high-quality of life to all of its residents”.

He added that the housing team and Morgan Sindall had set  “high expectations for our repairs service”, and that scrutiny of its processes by the wider council is “very much a part of the improvement process”.

Despite the report on repairs and works showing a marked improvement compared with the same period the previous year, councillors expressed concerns regarding the consistently high number of emergency repairs raised and a drop in the number of cases which had been attended within two hours of being reported.

Jonathon Tizzard, of Morgan Sindall Property, said: “Ultimately the aim is to run a much more efficient service and to improve the customer experience.. our residents demand better communication.”

He said that complaints procedures had been tweaked for Morgan Sindall to be made aware of any complaints “much earlier”, with the company now making an initial phone call to all complainants at the earliest opportunity which Mr Tizzard said “goes a long way in reducing distress”.

He added: “Things are going well - there’s still work to be done regarding finessing processes, investigating when things go wrong and generally improving the image of our service.”

In October, 830 emergency complaints were raised, while 778 were reported in November and 773 in December.