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'We spend £30 a day on heating and damp keeps getting worse' - one family's struggle in mould-ridden home

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:52 16 March 2018

Vicky Hendry, with her husband Robert, and children, from left, Ethan, 12;  Megan, 15; and Charlie, 10; in their house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Vicky Hendry, with her husband Robert, and children, from left, Ethan, 12; Megan, 15; and Charlie, 10; in their house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Water drips from the white ceiling, mushrooms grow on a candle holder and the creeping mould has turned the walls of the children’s bedrooms black.

Charlie Hendry, 10, showing the mould behind his bed in his bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCharlie Hendry, 10, showing the mould behind his bed in his bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The damp and cold is so bad at the home of the Hendry family on the former RAF base at West Raynham that they say it is costing them £30 a day – almost £1,000 a month - to power electric heaters.

But the fortune spent on heaters is proving futile. Despite the agent who manages the property for the landlord carrying out work, mother-of-three Vicky Hendry said the mould is getting worse.

It comes as figures show thousands of tenants in Norfolk are renting homes which risk their health.

Mrs Hendry lives there with husband Robert and three children, Megan, 15, Ethan, 12, and Charlie, 10.

Megan Hendry, 15, by the mould behind her bed in her bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. An improvement notice has been served by the council and the agent has carried out repairs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMegan Hendry, 15, by the mould behind her bed in her bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. An improvement notice has been served by the council and the agent has carried out repairs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In December a North Norfolk District Council environmental officer wrote to the letting agents saying work was needed to fix excess cold, damp and mould growth.

The semi-detached home does not have “an efficient system to heating that is capable of heating the whole dwelling,” the inspector found. They said there was “severe” mould growth throughout the home as well as draughts and heat loss because of gaps in brickwork around windows.

The agent installed an extractor fan and an extra electric heater. But Mrs Hendry said: “No amount of cleaning is helping. We are desperate to move but have to live here for now.”

The 34-year old carer said the damp had caused respiratory problems for her family.

Vicky Hendry, showing the mould and running wet ceiling in the bathroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYVicky Hendry, showing the mould and running wet ceiling in the bathroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

They are on the housing wait list with North Norfolk District Council – along with 2,200 other people – and are not hopeful of being able to move out soon.

Ian Fox, director of FW Properties which manages the house, said: “We take our responsibilities as a landlord very seriously. Whilst we have completely refurbished the majority of rented properties at Kipton Wood, Mrs Hendry and her children already occupied the 1940s, three-bedroom property before we took over the site.”

He said they had carried out lots of repairs to the home and followed the recommendations of the council health officer.

Mr Fox added: “As the family has grown, this property is no longer suitable for their needs.

Ethan Hendry, 12, who is disabled showing the mould in his bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYEthan Hendry, 12, who is disabled showing the mould in his bedroom at the family house in West Raynham which is full of mould. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Until the council are able to find a more appropriate property, Mrs Hendry has our assurance that we will continue to work closely with them to manage and improve things.”

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