Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Concerns over mould in houses in Thurrock

A THURROCK councillor has said it has taken the death of a child who lived in a mouldy flat to prompt a national wave of anger over the perennial problem.

A coroner has ruled Awaab Ishak from Rochdale died aged two in 2020, as a direct result of black mould in the flat he lived in. Councils across the country have consequently beeen urged by the Government to tackle the problem.

Thurrock has had a persistent issue with damp and mould in its properties and has embarked on an extensive programme to counter it but speaking at a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, chairman Allen Mayes, said: “I know we haven’t done enough historically. We’ve just got to be open and honest with ourselves. We can’t hide from that fact. It’s very sad that it’s taken the death of a young child to really spearhead this to national news when members across the political colours have been fighting this issue for many years.

“Councils and other bodies being on notice by the minister, is, out of a tragedy, a good thing in the sense of our residents getting the service they desperately need because we’ve all seen residents crying out for help.”

Joycelyn Redsell, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock Blackshots, gave a stark examples of how the problem. She said: “A flat was going to be taken out because it wasn’t any good and now I see someone else is in it. That to me shouldn’t have happened because it was in 2ft of water and now you’ve got somebody back in it.

“We’ve just had a ceiling go in Blackshots. A young child with croup was in there. We couldn’t find anywhere to put her so we had to take her to Westcliff in the end. The ceiling had gone in. She was in water and the water was seeping through the flat below. We could have lost that child with croup because we couldn’t find anywhere to put her. If that child had died we could have been in real trouble now.”

The committee heard a report on how the council is responding to the Housing Ombudsman’s Spotlight on Damp & Mould Report published in October 2021.

The committee resolved to seek an independent body to work with the council and to carry out a survey all council tenants.

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