Social housing tenants living in Rudloe were served eviction notices two years ago after not-for-profit company Green Square Accord announced a demolition order on ‘sub-standard’ properties.
Many of the families living in Rudloe have written to their social housing landlords with health concerns linked to black mould, rising damp and asbestos in their walls.
Green Square Accord told tenants they would be re-housed into new, refurbished flats, however, these plans were rejected in June.
A spokesperson from Greensquare said: ‘A small number of people had opposed the regeneration plan which included demolition of an underused community centre and the relocation of the green space at Rudloe. The redesign carried significant cost implications, meaning we could fit fewer homes onto the site. This combined with the current significant pressures on the economy and our organisation, has meant the scheme is no longer viable.’’
Tonya Cutler says the problem is having major issues on her and her five-year-old son’s life
This news came as a blow to single mum-of-three Gina Baker. She told GB News that two out of her three children have developed asthma. Doctors have told Gina that her children’s health issues are linked to the families’ living conditions.
Despite frequent cleaning and attempts from Green Square Accord to paint over the mould. Gina said it keeps coming back.
‘’It’s been really, really, bad. It’s black mould. I have to keep cleaning it, my son is a diagnosed asthmatic and Esme is going along the same path.’’
Esme is Gina’s 18-month-old baby. She was recently sent to A and E due to serious respiratory problems. When describing how she feels about her social landlord, Gina said:
‘’As far as I’m concerned, as long as they have got their money, that’s what they care about.’’
The struggles are similar for neighbour Tonya Cutler. Tonya suffers with multiple sclerosis (MS) and raises her autistic son alone. She told GB News that the issues with her flat are having major impacts on her and her son’s mental and physical health.
‘’The cold affects my MS, the stress affects my MS. My son is five years old. He’s autistic. He has already said to me that he hates his bedroom because it smells damp and it’s cold and it just isn’t a pleasant place for him, which is sad because that should be a safe place for him.’’
Both Tonya and Gina share the same view of their homes. They think they should have been demolished years ago.
Leader of the Wiltshire council Richard Clewer has had frequent complaints from tenants in Rudloe. However, as housing associations are privately owned, there is little he can do.
Mr Clewer told GB News: ’Rudloe is clearly not being maintained particularly well. It’s getting towards the end of life. It really needs pulling down and rebuilding. But that’s no excuse for not maintaining it. It’s no excuse for the mould issues that you see there. It’s no excuse for the concerns that tenants have about asbestos.’’
Green Square Accord said they committed to working with our customers to address any issues in their homes.
A spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of our customers is our top priority, and we take reports of damp and mould very seriously. Our surveyor inspected Ms Baker and Ms Cutler’s homes in June and found a small amount of damp and mould in the properties.’’
‘’Asbestos only presents a risk when it is disrupted or removed. The asbestos in the homes at Rudloe does not pose a risk to the health of the customers living there.”
Tonya and Gina both think their homes should be demolished
A spokesperson for GreenSquareAccord said: “Last year we made the difficult decision not to proceed with our regeneration plan in Rudloe. The scheme, which enjoyed broad support in the community for many years, would have seen the provision of new, high-quality affordable homes.
“More recently a small number of people had opposed the regeneration plan which included demolition of an underused community centre and the relocation of the green space at Rudloe which caused delays and meant we had to redesign the entire project.
“The redesign carried significant cost implications, meaning we could fit fewer homes onto the site. This combined with the current significant pressures on the economy and our organisation, has meant the scheme is no longer viable. While we recognise this is disappointing for our customers in Rudloe, as a not-for-profit housing provider we must manage our investments sensibly and sustainably.
“The health and wellbeing of our customers is our top priority, and we take reports of damp and mould very seriously. We are committed to working with our customers to address any issues in their homes. Last year we appointed a surveyor to audit our homes in Rudloe and produce a programme of works. We are following the recommendations in the surveyor’s report and the homes with the most urgent need are being dealt with first. We have also recruited four new Healthy Homes Advisors, one for each of our localities, to support our customer’s wellbeing and offer guidance on damp and mould issues.
“Our surveyor inspected Ms Baker and Ms Cutler’s homes in June and found a small amount of damp and mould in the properties. We have since supported them by offering them a dehumidifier and completing improvement work at their homes to treat the damp and mould.
“A further stage of improvement works which includes replacing trickle vents on Ms Baker’s home and installing an extractor fan to help remove condensation in Ms Cutler’s home, will be completed by Monday 5 February provided we can get access. We remain committed to working with Ms Baker and Ms Cutler to deal with the issues in their homes.
“Asbestos is a material which was in widespread use, and it is present in most buildings constructed before 1999. Asbestos only presents a risk when it is disrupted or removed in which case this needs to be managed by a specialist contractor. The asbestos in the homes at Rudloe does not pose a risk to the health of the customers living there.”