Water leak floods family's £1million home forcing them to live in a portacabin

A family has been forced out of their £1million home and into a portacabin - after flooding caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage, they say. Huge amounts of water has been spilled under the Catlings' four-bedroom property near Aylesbury, Bucks. This has caused significant damage - which means they have had to temporarily move out while the problem is being fixed. Julia Catling, 54, software engineer husband Karl Catling, 55, and their two children Hollie Catling, 24, and Gracie Catling, 19, are now living in "basically a caravan". And they say their insurers will be looking to reclaim the money they have lost back from Thames Water. Thames Water said the matter is currently with its insurers and solicitors and that it was in touch with the family. Julia said: "They go on about hosepipe bans and saving water, but they’ve put millions of gallons under us. “It’s made me feel terrified, we have no confidence in them fixing anything. It makes you scared of it happening again. “We have horses on the property and can’t leave them without anyone here. We’re having to live in basically a caravan. "It’s temporary accommodation which is costing my insurers £100k a year.” 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 appear outside the house, who apparently mentioned there was low water pressure in the area. They then returned to the property in June of that year and excavated a stretch of road 20 feet from the home, it is claimed. That summer, Julia says she began to notice water pooling on the land 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 had been working and to her horror, discovered running water. It transpired millions of gallons water had been flooding under the property, it is claimed, meaning the family was eventually forced to move out of the house while works were underway. The riding area where Julia’s equestrian centre is based was also heavily affected by the flooding. And the water has even meant Julia's daughter has been forced to change her wedding plans - as she was due to marry at the home on Saturday, April 8 this year. Julia said: “Through the summer of 2020, we had a lot of damp and cracking appear in the house but it’s an old house. “In August the house flooded through the foundations in heavy rainfall and alarm bells started to go off. “It turned out Thames Water had found a leak months ago, but because they thought it was running into the field next to us, they didn’t fix it. “The main had snapped and flooded the house and land. "The water went under the riding area and ruined that, what’s left of my lounge is wet, it’s mullered the fencing on our land and the ground got so wet in the winter. “The big disruption for us is that my daughter was supposed to get married from the house last weekend and now we weren't able hold that at home. "The disruption is beyond anyone's comprehension. “The house is completely gutted at the minute and we’re in a series of portacabins that bolt together, it’s so basic. "We've been in there since May 2022 and won’t be back in the house until August. "There was a mains leak in August 2020, and there was another one in March 2022 across the road from the house. "They came and repaired it but that failed a year later and there was flooding again two weeks ago [in March 2023]. “They need to know what can happen when they leave these leaks running next to people’s houses. “Thames Water have made no effort to come out and speak to us - they couldn’t care less.” A Thames Water spokesperson said: “The customer’s claim is currently with our insurers and solicitors, and we’ve contacted the customer directly to update them on our progress with this matter.”