‘It’s like living in a tent’ – mum begs council for a new home

Victoria Hedley with children Olivia Khan in her arms and Jack Hedley''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160215-8858)
Victoria Hedley with children Olivia Khan in her arms and Jack Hedley''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160215-8858)
  • Mother claims damp flat is making her children ill
Have your say

A mum has told of her living hell in a home that she claims is making her family ill.

Victoria Hedley is demanding to be rehoused by Portsmouth City Council as she says her one-bedroom flat is a health hazard because of constant damp and mould spores.

The situation is so bad that her doctors’ surgery has written to the council, arguing that her son Jack’s wheezy and chesty illnesses may be the result of the mould.

The 32-year-old has lived in Wecock Farm with her young children, 22-month-old Jack and five-month-old Olivia for the past year, but says she can’t take much more.

She says she was told by the council’s housing department that she was not at the top of the priority list.

Victoria has found mould growing under her children’s cots and Jack nearly went into a coma in November because of gastroenteritis.

‘I am trying to do everything to eliminate the condensation but it feels like we are living in a tent and it’s out of my control,’ said Victoria, of Partridge Gardens.

‘My children are suffering due to Portsmouth council making us wait on the list to be moved.

‘I have even cried down the phone to them.’

Victoria’s GP also suggests that the cramped conditions in the flat could be stunting Jack’s development because the limited space is stopping him walking.

Victoria said: ‘I went out and bought a dehumidifier for £180. It was 10 litres and it filled up within 24 hours.

‘The mould is everywhere. I’m wiping it off daily and the next day it’s back again.’

Victoria has to have ground-floor accommodation for medical reasons.

Elaine Bastable, the council’s housing options manager, said: ‘A building surveyor has visited the property to review the situation.

‘This revealed no structural problems, and that the damp is being caused by condensation, likely due to the number of occupants and belongings within a property of this size.

‘Ms Hedley has been allocated additional priority on our housing waiting list due to this, but as a ground floor flat, house or maisonette in only one specific area has been requested, it’s harder to meet these requirements within the limited housing stock available to us.

‘If the tenant would be open to upper floor accommodation and willing to consider other areas than the one originally specified, it would open up further properties that may become available to her.’