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Mother’s disgust at damp and mouldy council-owned bungalow for disabled son

PUBLISHED: 13:18 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:35 15 November 2018

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

Water dripping down the walls, mould in almost every room and a soaking wet bed - these were the appalling conditions a young disabled Norwich man had been living in.

Until last week, the 24-year-old, who has autism and is mostly confined to an electric wheelchair, was living in the Norwich City Council-owned bungalow, at Fiddlewood Road, in Old Catton.

But on Thursday he was temporarily moved out after lights within the property stopped working due to problems with the fuse box.

His mother, Lynnette Hansell, described the accommodation as “appalling” and claimed she had spent the past two months asking the council to move him out.

The city council said the wellbeing of its residents was a priority. It had previously offered the tenant alternative accommodation, but this was refused.

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Mrs Hansell, 45, who is her son’s carer, said: “My son can’t sleep in his bed, because its an electric hospital bed, and is soaking wet.

“The wall paper is falling off the walls, it’s cold, and all the while his belongings are being ruined by the damp and mould. “

Her son, who had a pacemaker fitted over the summer, had been living at the property for the past three-and-a-half years.

She said while the bungalow had always suffered from mould, it became much worse after the council installed a fire door in August this year.

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Now, almost every surface within the property is lined with condensation, and water drips from door handles.

A letter from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital dated November 2 stated her son’s cardiac problems were being “exacerbated” by his living conditions.

The author of the letter also asked the council to consider reviewing his accommodation.

Mrs Hansell said the council did monitor the bungalow’s humidity following her complaints, but claimed it was only until last Tuesday that alternative accommodation was offered.

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

She said the council had suggested respite care, which she said was not suitable due to her son’s mental and physical needs.

“It feels as though the council doesn’t care,” Mrs Hansell said.

On Thursday, November 8, she said the council temporarily moved her son out of the bungalow to a hotel following problems with the lights.

Mrs Hansell claimed the council has since left the heating on full and extractor fans running in the bungalow to try and rid it of moisture.

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

The city council had previously provided a positive pressure unit for the bungalow. Monitoring devices installed in the property found there was a lack of ventilation.

But Mrs Hansell said the property’s extractor fans were used during cooking and showers.

She claimed the positive pressure unit was disconnected by the council’s disabled adaptations team as it was blowing cold air into the bungalow.

A city council spokesman said: “It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to share personal and confidential information relating to any of our tenants, so we can’t comment on details of specific cases.

Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. 
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Lynnette Hansell is fighting to get her son in new accommodation. The house where he lives is being consumed by damp. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Generally speaking though, resolving damp and condensation issues is a two way process which requires thorough investigation from us and a willingness from the tenant to help address the problem.

“The wellbeing of our residents remains our priority. We do everything we can to work with individuals and other organisations to resolve what are often complex problems that go beyond issues with a property.”

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