'It's getting unbearable now' - woman near Banbury fears for her health due to mouldy home
Melissa Hirons moved to her bungalow on Cup and Saucer after being evacuated from Town Centre House last year because of the discovery of RAAC concrete in the building’s roof.
Since agreeing on the property with Sanctuary Housing and Cherwell District Council, Melissa, who was previously in the hospital in a serious condition with lung sepsis, has had a string of problems including a dangerous mould invasion.
Melissa says that when she moved into the property in November 2022, it had no electricity, and the hot water disappeared, forcing her to spend weeks at her family’s home and hotels.
Workmen from Sanctuary Housing did fix the problems with the electricity and hot water; however, since then, faulty roof lining and moisture have caused excessive mould to now grow in a number of rooms within the property.
Melissa said: “I have been fighting this since around February this year, trying to get it sorted. I have had to put a tent in the garden because the storage shed leaks too much to be able to keep anything in it.”
After discovering mould growing on the sitting room and bathroom ceiling, Melissa contacted Sanctuary, whose workmen found that the ceiling contained asbestos, which stalled work being done to fix the leakages and further alarmed Melissa due to her ongoing lung health problems.
Melissa added: “So basically, I have got great, big, massive patches of mould growing through the ceiling, and it's getting worse and worse.
"Roofing contractors came to look at the house, and they informed me that my chimney stack was dangerous as it had a large crack down the side of it.
"They must have sent workmen out to take pictures five or six times, but still no work has been done. This has now been going on for months and months; all of these problems with the property should have been sorted out before I actually moved in.”
Melissa says that when Sanctuary’s property manager was showing her the bungalow, she specifically asked him whether it contained asbestos because of her concerns regarding her lungs and was told it didn’t.
The mould damage is not only affecting her physically, but it is also costing her a lot of money. Melissa has said that to control the mould, she is leaving her windows open throughout the day and keeping her heating on to fight off the cold weather.
She said: “The mould in the house is causing my chest to wheeze, which is a big concern to me. It’s getting unbearable now, and I don't feel safe in my own home.
“I’m also having to keep the heating on very high in order to dry out the damp, but I also have to open the windows for ventilation. It is costing me around £40 per week on electric.”
A spokesperson for Sanctuary Housing has assured the Banbury Guardian that team members will make contact with Melissa to talk about their concerns and check on her welfare.
They said: "A significant amount of work has been undertaken at this property since our customers moved in, and we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Further repairs are scheduled, and we will ensure all the work required is completed as soon as possible."