THE heavy rainfall over the Christmas and the New Year period has taken its toll on council houses across the town.

In the last six weeks there have been almost three times as many calls for damaged property than there were in the same time last year.

Officers have had requests for repairs at more than 300 properties, in comparison to just 119 over the same period in 2012.

The vast majority of these complaints have been for roof leaks at individual properties or blocks of apartments.

December was one of the wettest on record, causing floods across the region, but the full scale of the damage to houses is only now being revealed.

In order to cope with repairs, the council’s housing department has been forced to bring in help from outside contractors.

The council only has two teams normally assigned to fix problems, so the extra man-power is needed to clear the backlog.

About 40 of the homes have been prioritised over the festive period due to the proximity of the water to electrical installations. They were made safe before workers moved on to the outstanding properties.

It is not thought anywhere is under threat from a roof collapse and the main cause of concern is the damage that will be caused to paint work and any fabric.

A team has been put together to monitor the progress of the work on a daily basis and any outstanding work.

It is hoped that most of the work will be completed over the next two to three months, but this is dependent on the weather staying clear so that workers are able to carry out the necessary repairs to people’s homes.

A council spokesman said: “The high winds and storms in recent weeks have resulted in our tenants reporting a significant increase in the number of roof leaks.

“This has mainly been due to driving rain being blown underneath roof eaves and other areas which are not normally affected during normal rainfall.

“We are working hard to ensure we complete the remainder of the repairs as quickly as we can and have arranged for our contractors to provide additional capacity to speed up the work.

“Any council tenants or leaseholders suffering from major damage caused by roof leaks or would like an update on progress with their repairs should call 01793 445503.”