Gosport navy families left in '˜squalor' as partners help defend the nation
NAVAL families are being forced to live in squalid '˜Third World' conditions while their loved ones spend months away at sea defending Britain.
Leaking pipes, cracked walls and black mould are just a few of the woes furious families in military homes have today spoken out about.
In one home, fist-sized holes in the ceiling above a child’s bed have been covered by contractors from CarillionAmey with gaffer tape, while one woman said she has waited seven years for someone to fix water damage to her dining room wall.
The news has prompted calls for CarillionAmey to be stripped of its multi-billion pound contract from the Ministry of Defence.
And it has infuriated the area’s politicians, with Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s former armed forces minister, now demanding urgent action, saying ‘enough is enough’.
The Portsmouth North MP said: ‘The breadth of issues and the length of time they’ve been going on show that CarillionAmey is not capable of delivering the speed and quality of service we need for our service accommodation.
‘Service families have been very understanding as their services and the MoD have tried to get CarillionAmey where it needs to be, but enough is enough.’
The issues have been reported at married quarters in Lee-on-the-Solent. But The News understands families across Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth are facing similar issues.
One woman, whose husband has been in the navy for more than a decade and asked not to be named, said: ‘We’re living in Third World conditions. It’s absolutely disgusting. Our families don’t deserve to live like this, we deserve better.’
Among some of those affected include Tracy Stinton, 38, of Owen Close, Lee-on-the-Solent.
She has been forced to move out of her home amid fears for her health, and the well-being of her three children.
She says her property has holes in its roof which allows water to seep in, eroding parts of the ceiling in two of her rooms. She said: ‘It’s just disgusting what my family has been through.’
Caroline Dinenage, Gosport’s MP, was contacted by Mrs Stinton.
The Tory MP said the current conditions were unacceptable and vowed she would ‘keep battling’ to have them improved.
‘I still receive a worrying number of complaints from local service families concerning disrepair and maintenance issues with service family accommodation properties,’ she said.
‘Every CarillionAmey failure has an impact on the lives of forces families, who already sacrifice so much to protect our nation. I take the welfare of service families extremely seriously and will keep battling with the MoD and CarillionAmey until we see the improvements that are needed.’
CarillionAmey took on the service to provide maintenance work for the nation’s service families in 2014.
The firm now covers some 50,000 people and deals with up to 25,000 maintenance jobs every month. But, the firm did admit to The News it was struggling to meet the demand and that it was always striving to improve its services.
And a source said there was an issue with a handful of properties in the Gosport area due ‘to their location, construction, age and design’.
‘Unfortunately, there are instances when our services fail to meet the expectations of our customers but we have a dedicated team of professionals available to help resolve any such issues,’ the spokesman said. ‘Improving customer service, within the constraints of our contract, is really important to us, and we take any feedback provided by our customers seriously.’
The company has launched a new response maintenance process, to improve communication to customers when appointments need to be changed, calling ahead to let them know. And, CarillionAmey is also due to launch its new customer charter – a pledge to deliver a better service.
An MoD spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise the importance of providing accommodation to our Armed Forces personnel and their families and this remains a high priority for the department. In the last six years we have invested more than £660m in housing but we know there is still more to do.
‘We have held CarillionAmey to account and developed an aggressive plan to improve the quality of service and we continue to rigorously monitor the services provided by CarillionAmey.’