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Jessica Foley says mould has made Petham council flat unsafe

By Gerry Warren

These images show the appalling conditions a mum and daughter are having to endure in their mould-ridden council flat.

It covers the walls and ceilings of Jessica and Bethany Foley’s home and is now affecting their health.

But when she stopped paying the rent in protest, the pair were threatened with eviction.

Miss Foley, who lives in the block in Tillard Close, Petham, has pleaded with the council to tackle the problem, which is especially bad in her bedroom.

The mould has affected the health of Jessica Foley and her daughter
The mould has affected the health of Jessica Foley and her daughter

It is now so serious she has developed a persistent cough and been given an inhaler by her doctor who says the mould in her bedroom could be causing it.

But housing bosses have told her it is her own fault because she should keep the windows open, even when it is freezing cold outside.

“The flat is unfit for human habitation,” said the 37-year-old school sixth-form manager.

“It’s freezing because we only have storage radiators that don’t work properly.

Despite that, we have kept windows open to try and keep it ventilated.

“We have even had water pouring through the light fitting of my 18-year-old daughter’s
bedroom which had to be removed for safety reasons.”

Thick black mould covers the walls and ceiling
Thick black mould covers the walls and ceiling

The pair moved to the block in 2014 and about two years ago, black spots first started to appear on the ceiling.

“It has just got progressively worse and is now so bad that we don’t invite anyone round, because it’s just too embarrassing,” Miss Foley said.

“I’m sure it’s a serious health risk. Once a month, I have to spend the whole weekend cleaning it off.

"I’ve tried everything, including mould remover and bleach which causes fumes, but it keeps coming back.

“Bethany also has headaches and sickness that could well be related to it.

“We have also had to go without hot water for two months.

Housing bosses told Jessica Foley it was her own fault for not opening windows
Housing bosses told Jessica Foley it was her own fault for not opening windows

“The council’s contractors have now finally admitted there could be an underlying issue with the building and possibly a leak which is causing water to be trapped.

“There is now scaffolding outside the building and work is going on, but no one has told me what’s going on.”

City council spokesman Rob Davies said: “We first received a report of damp at this property in February 2016.

"Our specialist damp contractor inspected and found evidence of mould growth and moisture to the bedroom walls, which indicates a condensation issue caused by an inadequate balance between heating, ventilation and insulation.

“Miss Foley was given advice about everyday lifestyle changes she could make in order to improve the situation.

“A further report of damp was received early in 2017 and an inspection appointment was made, but Miss Foley was not at home at the scheduled time.

Jessica Foley has to clean the mould from her bedroom walls every month
Jessica Foley has to clean the mould from her bedroom walls every month

“We heard no more from her until over Christmas when she contacted us about water entering her property.

"An emergency electrician visited on Boxing Day to make the electrics safe and scaffolding has been erected for a roof inspection.

“We are aware of her posts on social media and will be contacting Miss Foley as a matter of urgency to set up a visit.

"We will arrange a full mould wash of the property and inspect for any other issues causing her concern inside her flat.

"In addition to the roof work, we will also carry out a check of the building generally to make sure there aren’t any wider problems.”

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