ANGRY residents have grouped together to protest about the state of their council flats.
Sick of having to deal with damp, mould and cold, the residents of Arras House, in Nashe Way, Fareham, have handed a petition to the council calling on it to act.
Resident Ben Foster decided to take action after falling sick for the second time — something he attributes to the cold and damp.
The 29-year-old said: ‘I have bought a dehumidifier and put it in my bedroom and that fills up with water in a few hours. I have already had pneumonia once and when I began to feel sick again I decided enough was enough.’
Ben went door to door and got the residents to sign his petition before handing it to the ward councillor Peter Davies, who presented it to the council.
Mr Foster said: ‘When the flats were built, the building regulations were not as strict as they are today. The whole place needs to be renovated.
‘The council sent somebody to tighten my windows, but that didn’t help. They say it’s condensation but it’s not.
‘Luckily for me, I do not have carpets, my neighbour does and the damp has got into them. It’s like being punched in the face with damp when he opens his door.
‘It is not acceptable to have vulnerable people living in these terrible conditions.’
Ben, who is unemployed due to health reasons, said the problems with damp have been compounded by an archaic heating system, controlled by the council.
‘The heating comes on only at night, leaving residents unable to adjust the temperature in their homes.
Ben said: ‘It comes on about midnight and we get six hours of heat then it trickles out to nothing during the day.
‘We cannot get warm or dry. I’ve had to move all my electrical equipment as it was being ruined.’
Ben has bought extra electric heaters, which, along with his dehumidifier, are costly to run.
He would like the council to install a new heating system, as well as carrying out structural work.
The council is aware of the problems, and has installed portable dehumidifiers in the worst affected flats.
Cllr Davies said: ‘The council is paying for dehumidifiers, which are eating up electricity and in my view, is not an answer to the problem. It is not a solution and needs to be urgently readdressed.’
Nobody from the council was available to comment.