Tenants of some 200 Silva Homes flats say they have been forced to sleep fully-clothed and facing soaring energy bills this winter after wall insulation was removed during major renovation works.

Residents of Boyd Court on Downshire Way say they were only told the insulation would be removed in August, months after work had begun. Silva Homes says it had no choice as the insulation was contributing to damp and mould – and that it still intends to look for a solution.

One tenant Nichola Chuter said that residents have been going to bed in several layers of clothing to try and stay warm. She said: “The little daughter of one of my neighbours has health problems – they’re having to go to bed fully clothed.

“We’ve got blankets all over the flat. My daughter sleeps in a hoody, three blankets and a duvet.”

She added: “Not everybody can work – and some people’s electricity has gone from £20-£30 a week to £110 a week [to pay for heating].”

READ MORE: Silva Homes says it has ‘fallen short’ on Bracknell repairs

Another tenant, Jo Darlington, said: “I’m spending £15 a day on the electric – I probably used to spend £30 a week in previous winters. And me and my daughter are both at work all day, so for someone not in work it’s going to be a lot more.

“I don’t have the heaters on in the kitchen or the bedrooms, and we’re layering up. We live in the 21st century – nobody should be walking around in pyjamas, jumpers, dressing gowns and six socks and slippers.”

She added: “There are elderly people and people who are on benefits – how are they supposed to afford this?”

A Silva Homes spokesperson Tim Hall said major refurbishment works at Boyd Court were intended to reduce the likelihood of mould and damp, and make homes warmer. The works included replacing storage heaters with electric radiators.

But he said a survey carried out as part of the works found the wall insulation was failing, making damp and mould worse. And he claims new insulation would leave flats “more susceptible to damp and water ingress” due to the structure of the building, and that wall cavities need time to dry out.

Mr Hall said Silva Homes would investigate areas of heat loss and look into what can be done.

He said: “We are working with customers who have recently reported issues to us to offer support and investigate how we can best tackle any areas of heat loss in the properties.

“We ask that customers get in touch with us should affordability be an issue, as we have funds available for customers who are struggling with energy bills. We would also encourage any customers facing difficulties in heating their homes to contact us.”