'Mouldy flat made my son ill'


Emily Davies

A YOUNG child celebrated his first birthday with a chest infection which his parents claim was caused as a result of living in a mouldy council flat.
Baby Harri’s father, James Marshland, is furious with Shropshire Council and blames their housing accommodation for making his beloved son ill.
James has spent 12 months pleading with the authority to make repairs to the ground-floor flat he shares with his partner, Rachel Kellett, in The Meads, Weston Rhyn.
But with little in the way of help and conditions getting worse, one-year-old Harri has suffered serious chest infections – something the family’s GP believes was caused by the poor accommodation.
Mr Marshlands said: “His chest was really bad, it really upsets you seeing your child like that, but then for the doctor to say the mould is a factor made me so angry.
“When we moved in the state of the flat was atrocious, there was plaster coming off the walls and really bad damp and mould but all that came under  Shropshire Council’s responsibility.

“The housing officer came out and said the work would be done but after four or five visits it never was. I was calling, emailing them and writing letters to them several times a month. There was a complete breakdown in the system; it is like they don’t care,” he added.
The 29-year-old, who has been a builder since he left school, said he had contemplated making the repairs himself, but feared not being compensated.
Although the repairs were made at the end of last month, Mr Marshlands believes the ‘patching work’ will only delay the damp coming through again.
He continued: “They should have knocked the flats down years ago; why are they putting vulnerable tenants in these houses?”
Angela Douglas, Asset Manager at Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing, said: “We aim to ensure all tenants live in a  safe and healthy environment, by providing a high quality repairs and maintenance service.
“We have been working closely with the family and more extensive work will now be undertaken by an anti-damp and preservation specialist, who is due to visit the property next week to carry out an inspection.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and distress this has caused to our tenant and his family,” she added.

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