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Desperate man living in squalor throughout lockdown at his wits’ end

Written by on 25/09/2020

A Rotherman man has been begging the council to fix his “shoddy” flat for a decade.

Mark White, 44, moved into his council flat in Wingfield Road, Rotherham, in November 2010 and said he was fit and healthy at the time.

But now, a decade later, he suffers from atopic asthma and said the reason for his diagnosis is toxic black mould which covers the interior walls of his home for almost six years.

In a desperate email to a Councillor in February 2015, Mark said he had been suffering with a “consistent cough for about three years” and had been “coughing black up”.

Eventually, Mark said Rotherham Council ripped off the wooden fascia that covered the external walls of his property which he claims were rotten and mould-ridden.



The mould that Mark says covered the interior walls of his flat
The mould that Mark says covered the interior walls of his flat

Mark said: “The council repaired the external fascia but made me wait until they were ready to do the whole block I live in, so the council knew the fascia needed replacing but made me wait for years living in it.”

With the fascia removed Mark said the alleged toxic mould issue was finally resolved. However, he is now battling with the council again as he believes his living room ceiling is dangerous.

He said: “It’s making noises and it made a noise today, I was just about to get up and go to the kitchen and I jumped out of my skin because of the noise it made.

“I’ve looked and the ceiling is cracked, it was a proper cracking noise; like someone was snapping something”, Mark said.

He said the council had previously sent someone round to deal with his ceiling, as it had been leaking.

Rotherham Council said it is working to rectify the issues in his home but Mark says he is still waiting for work to be carried out.

“My living room ceiling is all plasterboard anyway and they need to put some more plaster on it,” he said.



The crack that covers Mark’s living room ceiling

Because of the issues with the ceiling, Mark said he spent a while living in his bedroom because he was scared the ceiling would collapse.

But little did he know, there was allegedly hidden mould lurking in his bedroom due to hairline cracks that he discovered on the walls.

Mark said: “I’ve been sleeping in the bedroom and didn’t even know, because my wardrobe was in front of it [the mould].

“I wondered why my symptoms were getting worse, it’s because I’ve been living in the bedroom as the living room ceiling isn’t safe.”

He said that the cracks in his bedroom wall correspond to holes he had noticed in the external brickwork, which is how he thinks the damp and mould is getting through.

“It looks like a drawing with pencil on the bedroom walls but it isn’t, it’s proper cracks”, Mark said.

Mark said he now needs to use his nebuliser, which helps him breathe, three times a day.



The cracks on Mark’s bedroom walls with spots of mould around the top corner

“It’s not fair, they [the Council] have done the minimum. I just think it’s wrong, because there are probably vulnerable people who would just put up with this”, he said.

Rotherham Council’s assistant director for housing, Tom Bell, said: “We are currently carrying out a series of works to rectify the issue raised by Mr White.

“Our priority is to ensure the safety of our Council tenants and once all work is complete an inspection will be carried out to ensure the work carried out is to a high standard.”