Mouldy homes in Bourne prompt urgent call for action from housing association

Connor Cowling, 23, and Sophie Haymes, 21 at home in Potters Close, Bourne, with children Braiden, 4, Sapphire, 18 months and Sophie's mum Ellie Haymes. ALL PHOTOS: LEE HELLWING
Connor Cowling, 23, and Sophie Haymes, 21 at home in Potters Close, Bourne, with children Braiden, 4, Sapphire, 18 months and Sophie's mum Ellie Haymes. ALL PHOTOS: LEE HELLWING

Families living in mould-ridden rented accommodation are calling for urgent action to be taken to protect their long-term health.

A number of homes in Potters Close, Bourne, have been experiencing ongoing problems with dampness and mould for many months.

Connor Cowling pictured with mould in his living room

Connor Cowling pictured with mould in his living room

Residents say that despite repeated pleas to landlord the Waterloo Housing Group, no permanent solution to the problem has been found.

Connor Cowling, 23, and Sophie Haymes, 21, say mould on walls, ceilings, skirting boards and windows in their property is making them and their two young children seriously ill.

Braiden, four, Sophie’s son from a previously relationship, and the couple’s 18-month-old daughter Sapphire have both suffered from a string of chest and ear infections which they believe have been triggered by the conditions inside their home.

And last summer, Connor was himself hospitalised for several days after being diagnosed with encephalitis, which he believes was also caused by the mould.

Mould at home of Sophie Haymes in Potters Close, Bourne

Mould at home of Sophie Haymes in Potters Close, Bourne

Sophie said: “The house has never been right in the two years we have lived here. When we first moved in, there was a funny smell which would not go away.

“We soon noticed large patches of mould which have never really gone away - despite us trying to ventilate the property and using chemical sprays to clean away the mouldy patches.

“It’s not a healthy home to be bringing up young children in. Waterloo did once arrange for a mould removal firm to visit and do a treatment, but it soon came back again.

“We’ve been told to keep the windows open and turn up the storage heaters, but that’s a waste of money and has made no difference.”

Mould at home of Anna Masterston in Potters Close, Bourne

Mould at home of Anna Masterston in Potters Close, Bourne

Connor and Sapphire have been sleeping in their living room of their home for months because the mould-ridden first floor makes them feel so poorly at night.

Connor said: “I sleep on the sofa every night and Sapphire normally goes on a blanket beside me. We shouldn’t have to be doing this. It’s not fair. Braiden and Sapphire have been ill so often - we keep a note on our calendar of the problems they’ve had and it’s virtually full.”

Connor and Sophie say they have asked to be moved to new accommodation but their request has been refused. Sophie added: “We don’t want to live here any more, but we don’t want anyone else to have to live here either. It’s not fit for living in.”

Anna Masterson, 19, and partner Andy Buck, 26, live in Potters Close with Anna’s parents Annette and Sean.

Mould at home of Anna Masterston in Potters Close, Bourne

Mould at home of Anna Masterston in Potters Close, Bourne

Anna said the property had been affected by mould for years and no amount of cleaning would get rid of it. She said: “It’s been like it for years. Mould cleaners strip the paint off the wall but the mould always comes back.

“It’s a big problem around here and we are always coughing with it and getting sore throats.”

Jade Bellamy, 25, who also lives in Potters Close and has children aged three and four, said she bought a dehumidifier to tackle a mould problem in her house.

She said: “We’re OK now, but I shouldn’t have had to spend my own money on a dehumidifier to sort it out.”

Waterloo Housing Group told the Mercury that arrangements would be made to clean mould where necessary.

Malkit Sagoo, Director of Asset Management said: “We have recently been made aware of reported mould at one of our properties in Potters Close and commissioned a specialist report into this as a result.

“The report confirmed there were no property defects causing the mould. In order to assist our tenants to deal with the mould we made arrangements for the mould to be cleaned.

“Although we have not recently received reports of mould from other properties in Potters Close, we will investigate further to establish the cause of this and take any remedial action that this identifies is needed to resolve this.”