SIX households, including an 18-year-old couple with a newborn baby, were forced to leave their homes in Cheshire West after a ‘mysterious’ carbon monoxide leak. 

Megan Parrott and Lee Birtles, and four-week-old Roman, were living in one room at Middlewich Travelodge, along with their dog Bonnie, since being evacuated from their home on the new Woodlands development in Winsford on Tuesday, May 21.

The Woodlands is a 268-home new estate in Winsford developed by Equans in partnership with QWest, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Riverside Group.

The poisonous gas was first discovered next-door to Megan and Lee's Acer Court property, at Sammie Williams and Danny Pickard’s house, on Monday, May 13.

Their landlord, the Riverside Group, first said their carbon monoxide alarm was faulty and replaced it. According to Sammie, that was around five weeks ago.

But when their replacement alarm went off at 2am on May 13, an investigation revealed the presence of the gas.

Carbon monoxide usually occurs when a faulty appliance, like a boiler or cooker, causes methane gas piped into homes for heating and cooking to burn inefficiently.

Cadent, which manages the UK’s gas network, has investigated the Acer Court homes and say the carbon monoxide there is nothing to do with domestic gas supply.

Chester and District Standard: Acer Court tenants took the newbuild homes on 'rent to buy' or shared ownership schemesAcer Court tenants took the newbuild homes on 'rent to buy' or shared ownership schemes (Image: Megan Parrot)

Megan and Lee said they were ‘really struggling’ at the Travelodge as there is nowhere to sterilise baby Roman’s bottles, store milk in their room, or wash clothes.

Megan said: “I just think it’s disgusting. These rooms just aren’t meant for people to live in long-term. They’re far too small.  

“We couldn't wash our clothes or sterilise Roman’s things properly. We couldn't even wash up our coffee cups or have a pot noodle. There’s no cutlery.

“It was costing us a fortune. We’re only young, and I work bank shifts, so I don’t get paid maternity leave. I feel awful for Lee as he’s our only source of income.

“On Friday before the bank holiday weekend, Riverside told Lee they’d email us a £50 voucher for cash, which they did. We used that for a few meals in the pub across the road.

“They also said they’d give him a £100 Tesco voucher, but it never arrived. We let them know after the bank holiday, but they said they’d sent it.

“The closest Tesco is two miles away anyway, and neither of us drive. Lee works 14-hour shifts, and I can’t walk with a four-week-old baby and a dog to the shop.

Chester and District Standard: Baby Roman and dog, Bonnie, in the family's single room at the Travelodge in MiddlewichBaby Roman and dog, Bonnie, in the family's single room at the Travelodge in Middlewich (Image: Megan Parrott)

“It’s costing Lee £30 a day in taxis to get to and from work.”

Sammie Williams was the first resident to be evacuated on Thursday, May 16, and she and partner Danny have been living in a succession of hotel rooms ever since.

The 34-year-said she has no idea when Riverside will let her go back to her house.  

She added: “Their communication has been woeful, to be honest. These are our homes, but we feel like the last people to be told anything.  

“We do know now it’s not the gas supply to the house. We think the carbon monoxide might be coming from the drains, but it’s all a bit of a mystery.

“When we removed the kickboards under the kitchen cupboards, the levels in the kitchen shot up as high as 130 parts per million.

Chester and District Standard: Megan and Lee moved into their brand new Acer Court home in FebruaryMegan and Lee moved into their brand new Acer Court home in February (Image: Megan Parrott)

“I’ve not a clue when we'll be able to go home, but it feels like it’s going to be weeks rather than days.”

Riverside says it's trying to accommodate the needs of all its displaced tenants, and has offered them all an alternative place to stay, money for food, and ‘reasonable’ out of pocket expenses.

A spokesman said: “We want to sincerely apologise to our affected customers at the Woodlands for any inconvenience experienced while work is being done to address a matter affecting their homes.

“This matter is being monitored at a senior level daily, and we are working with developer and site owner, Equans, as they work to identify and resolve the issue.

“We have worked with all the customers who have had to leave their homes to ensure they have alternative accommodation. Where needed, we’ve also provided financial support with food costs and other reasonable expenses.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we are listening to each customer to try to understand their needs and working with them to accommodate that.

“Understandably, Ms Parrott and Mr Birtles did not wish to be separated from their pet dog. Unfortunately, due to limited availability in the area, the only hotel that would accept their dog and remained close to their home to support their commute to work was the Travelodge.

"To further support Ms Parrott and Mr Birtles during their temporary stay, we had arranged for use of the fridge facilities at Travelodge to help with storing and sterilising bottles.

“We’ve remained in regular contact with the couple and have continued to look into alternative accommodation since first relocating them.

“On Wednesday, May 29, we advised Ms Parrott and Mr Birtles we have sourced AirBnB accommodation with washing amenities, cooking facilities, and which accommodates their pet.”

Equans have been approached for comment.