THE government claims the welfare of our servicemen and women is a top priority in upholding the military covenant.
But The News can reveal how the MoD has allowed a military housing estate in Portsmouth to fall into a shocking state.
Thick mould covers the walls of family homes, dead flies litter communal areas, and the grass was not cut for two months around Matapan Road, Normandy Road and Narvik Road, Hilsea.
Sailors and soldiers who rent homes there say their numerous complaints to the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) have fallen on deaf ears.
On a walk around the estate, The News found the grass had grown almost to waist height in places and residents had taken to buying their own lawn mowers to cut down public areas.
‘I came back from sea last week and I was appalled,’ said one sailor as he tackled what looked like a the meadow outside his house.
‘I’ve lived here for eight years and I’ve never seen it like this.
‘It’s worrying for me because of my kids. There’s weeds and nettles and someone might have thrown some broken glass in there. I don’t want them playing in it, it’s disgusting.’
The day after The News contacted the MoD to raise the residents’ grievances, contractors were sent to cut the grass. But long-term issues around mould and cleanliness remain – despite servicemen and women shelling out almost £200 a year for ground maintenance.
One soldier said: ‘The cleaners hardly ever turn up and when they do come, my five-year-old could do a better job. They don’t even mop the floors, just sweep them.
‘There are stains on the floor and dead flies and cobwebs on the window sills. It’s awful.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt challenged the MoD to put things right on the estate.
She said: ‘A poor job is being done at the moment. The military covenant is facing a series of welfare issues. People are being paid a lot of money to keep on top of this. It’s their job to sort these issues out and it’s just not good enough.’
A spokeswoman for the DIO said it was ‘looking into concerns’ on the Hilsea estate.
She added: ‘Providing service personnel and their families with the living accommodation they deserve is a top priority.’