Nottinghamshire residents living in mouldy homes say council’s efforts ‘not enough’
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People living in a section of Eastwood council houses plagued by mould say the authority’s plan to solve the problem has so far proved ineffective.
A ‘damp and mould remediation project’ is being carried out at properties in Princes Street and Wellington Street as part of a Broxtowe Borough Council action plan.
The work follows orders from the Government and the regulator of social housing for councils and other landlords to review how they respond to problems of damp and mould.
The changes were made following the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in his Rochdale council home.
Residents living in Princes Street and Wellington Street say Broxtowe Borough Council has conducted some mould remedial works, but in some cases it is already beginning to return.
‘It has just come back’
Oliver Hawryluk, 41, has lived in his property since March 2017.
He says most windows on the street were replaced in 2019, but any further mould and damp remedial works were delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
“[The council] promised me the world and lockdown came and it put a stop to everything,” he said.
“I was one of the first to have it done in December 2021 after lockdown. But it is coming back already.
“I just feel let down. I have asthma and it doesn’t help that. It was painted over and it has just come back.”
Housing in the area was originally constructed between 1854 and 1860 by mine owners Barber and Walker to house its growing workforce.
By the 1970s most of the buildings had become run down and lacked modern facilities.
Eastwood Urban District Council purchased all the properties and demolished 80 houses as part of its plans to redevelop the area, before reorganisation of local government meant the responsibility for housing was taken over by then-Broxtowe District Council.
The council opted for a more considered approach to redeveloping the area, rather than the ‘slum clearance’ methods of the 1960s, and it was made a conservation area.
Two blocks of the original housing along Princes Street were retained.
Many residents who have moved in to the council-owned houses say they have been ‘plagued’ with damp and mould for years as a result of the ageing structures.
‘Everyone has mould’
A mum of two sons, one aged 21 and another aged 10, says the council’s solutions have failed to prove “permanent”.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It smelled like a fish tank that had not been cleaned.
“It took them about three years to come and sort it but it is just going to come back.
“Everyone has mould. There are so many people complaining about it.
“They aren’t doing enough. I think it’s because of money.”
Another mother, who has two young children, added: “In November last year all my guttering was blocked and dripping down the walls.
“All my paint started bubbling and came off the walls.
“The council didn’t come out until April this year.
“With this council you have to keep phoning them every single day to get things sorted.”
In response to the concerns, a council spokeswoman said a site office will be opened shortly ahead of the next phase of works, which will involve installing external insulation at properties in Wellington Street and Princes Street.
“The council has completed various works in this area to tackle damp and mould issues, including repairs to gutters, re-pointing of exterior brickwork and window replacement,” the spokeswoman said.
“Damp reports have also be carried out, with remedial works undertaken at a number of properties already and a work programme in place to complete the remaining ones.
“We understand that any works taking place in residents’ homes can be stressful so officers have made sure that they are available to discuss any concerns and provide practical advice on mould prevention, including through site visits and a dedicated email contact.”