Council promises to act on army veteran’s damp and ‘uninhabitable’ home (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Council promises to act on army veteran’s damp and ‘uninhabitable’ home
2:52pm Friday 12th October 2012 in News
AN ARMY veteran has said his health has deteriorated because damp and mould in his house has become so bad – and his doctor has labelled it “uninhabitable.”
David Stephenson, 53, and wife Lucy, 49, have lived in the Richmondshire District Councilowned property for 26 years, since Mr Stephenson left the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment, where he was a medic.
Mr Stephenson said he has repeatedly complained to the council about the increasing damp in the Richmond property, but has not seen any adequate improvements to his home.
He said a recent inspector sent by the council announced it was also infested with weevils, a beetle that normally inhabits grain and cereal products.
The council has now said it will move the Stephensons to another property while extensive repairs are carried out.
He said: “For the last few years I have had serious health problems but they are all coming to a head now.
“I suffer from fibromyalgia which causes pain all over my body and when I went to see my doctor last I showed him pictures of the black mould in my house and water marks on the walls – he said the house looked uninhabitable.”
Mr Stephenson said he could push his finger through the rotten wooden window frames and windows that had been doubleglazed had condensation between them.
He added: “The council came to replace our back door, but used an internal fire door instead of a proper external door so it is not really fit for purpose.
“We were also told to use the heating more to get rid of the damp – but a builder friend of mine told me that would only make our problems worse.”
Mr Stephenson, whose hobbies include shoe-making and wood crafts, said he is storing many of his belongings out of the house so they do not get damaged, and said carpets they bought are ruined.
Richmondshire District Council said it was aware of the damp problems and has planned to replace the kitchen, bathroom, heating and have the electrics upgraded.
However a spokesman said the issues had only been reported recently and specialists have been to inspect the level of water damage – and added Howdens Joinery had assured them the new door fitted is suitable for external use.
Housing director Colin Dales said: “Council officers had a lengthy meeting with Mr Stephenson on Tuesday in order to resolve his complaints – included at that meeting was a specialist in the field of remedial damp course repair and mould growth.
“The council proposes to carry out many repairs to this property when Mr and Mrs Stephenson have been moved out of the property, in order to minimise any disturbance.”