Sealant on a damp wall caused mould health risk

A FAMILY is seeking compensation from Twigden Homes after severe damp in their brand new home caused a health visitor to raise the alarm about their baby s health. For six weeks over the winter, builders claimed the creeping fungus was the result of conde

A FAMILY is seeking compensation from Twigden Homes after severe damp in their brand new home caused a health visitor to raise the alarm about their baby's health.

For six weeks over the winter, builders claimed the creeping fungus was the result of condensation caused by washing and drying baby clothes.

When the main bedroom in the flat in Bradley Road, Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon, became so wet, it was then thought that the problem was a leaking radiator.

Nicola Dean, 24, told The Hunts Post that mould grew on the carpet and spread to a double bed, her baby's crib and then on to clothes in two wardrobes. She said, as a test, she left a bib belonging to her six-month old baby, Maisie, on the floor for a week and it became covered in black mould.


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After weeks of living with the problem, it was confirmed on Monday by an environmental health officer from Huntingdonshire District Council that the problem was caused by a sealant applied by builders.

Now, Miss Dean and her partner, scaffolder Liam Johnson, 23, are seeking compensation.

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"I knew this was not a problem caused by washing," Miss Dean said. "I dry my washing in a vented tumble-drier and near the back door. The mould is growing at the other end of the flat - on clothes in a wardrobe after they have been dried. We were given one excuse after another."

The couple said they first reported the problem to Twigden Homes and their landlord, The Guinness Trust, on January 4. Twigden sent investigators the following day and said the problem was caused by misunderstanding how to ventilate a new property. The Guinness Trust promised a dehumidifier to tackle the problem, but it never arrived.

At one stage the family's health visitor, Julie Cloke, became so concerned about the mould that she wrote a letter on the family's behalf to the housing department at HDC, which had referred the family to The Guinness Trust.

Ms Cloke wrote: "The damp and mould in the house are clearly a health risk for all living there but in particular the baby."

HDC Environmental health officer, Paul Haggerty said the problem was caused when a sealant was applied to an outside wall after the wall was already damp. It meant that once heating was turned on in the family's home, the moisture was drawn inside. Mr Haggerty has said he would write to Twigden Homes and The Guinness Trust to explain what has caused the problem.

A spokesman for The Guinness Trust said: "With newly built homes, there is still water in the structure. We supply guidelines about ventilation, which is vital in a new home. We are sorry that the dehumidifier has not been delivered. It was placed with a neighbour who had a severe flood. They said they would pass it on to Nicola when they had finished with it, but this hasn't happened."

Twigden Homes said it was waiting to hear about the latest suggested cause of the mould.

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