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Fordingbridge tenant says communal hallway at Augustus Park so damp mushrooms are growing

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A FORDINGBRIDGE family has slammed their housing association for failing to deal with a leak that has led to such damp conditions in their communal hallway that mushrooms are growing.

Kellie Bieda (32) moved into her newly-built flat in Augustus Avenue with her fiancé Daniel Sinclair and their four-month-old daughter in August 2020.

But before long she noticed the skirting boards in the hallway starting to blow and warp.

The flats at Augustus Avenue
The flats at Augustus Avenue

The flat is one of 145 properties built by developer Pennyfarthing Homes, some of which are owned by Sovereign Housing Association.

“Damp patches also began appearing on the carpet and mould had started to grow on the skirting so we contacted Sovereign,” Kellie told the A&T.

“They came and ripped the skirting boards out, taking chunks of plaster along with them in places, and never replaced it.

“Nails were left sticking out of the walls – my neighbour has a three-year-old so this is just dangerous.

“The carpet then became visibly wet, so much so that when I walked on it in flip flops water splashed up onto my feet, and mushrooms began growing.

It's damp enough for mushrooms
It's damp enough for mushrooms

“Again, I contacted Sovereign and this time they came and ripped the carpet out.”

She went on: “It now looks and smells so bad I’m embarrassed to have people over. Also the damp spores will almost definitely be getting into my flat, and I have concerns over the health implications for my family, particularly my baby.”

Kellie received a letter from Sovereign more than three weeks ago informing her that a leak had been identified and would be fixed within the week.

“Nothing has happened,” said Kellie. “The problem is not just in our building, our neighbours have had similar issues with damp and mould.

“We pay £120 a week to live here and Sovereign has a duty to us as tenants to ensure issues are dealt with as they come up – that is not happening.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, told the A&T she had ongoing issues at her ground-floor flat, which she moved into just over a year ago.

Daniel Sinclair
Daniel Sinclair

“I have asthma and other health conditions which are not helped by having damp in my home,” she said. “My clothes and shoes are growing mould on and my walls look and feel damp.”

She said that around eight months ago she contacted Sovereign over flooding in front of her property.

“The water was just not draining, and rising very quickly,” she said. “I was actually afraid it was going to come into the flat.”

Connie Garrett, development aftercare and quality manager for Sovereign, apologised that work had not yet take place to repair the flooring in the communal hall.

“We’re working with our development partners Pennyfarthing to find the source of the leak before we make replacements, and are hopeful that this work will be completed over the next couple of weeks,” she said.

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