THE dream of a fresh start in a new family home has turned into an “inescapable nightmare” for a single mum in Wick after she discovered her flat was threatening the health of her young sons.
Concerned Elizabeth Humphrey claims her Arun council flat, in Highfield, is riddled with damp and mould to such a degree is it affecting the health of her 18-week-old son, Kaiden, and his brother Kyle, six.
The 22-year-old said the entire family was suffering from a range of respiratory conditions as a result of harmful mould spores in the air.
She said: “It’s an inescapable nightmare. I don’t know where else to turn.
“It’s horrible, each morning you wake up, you are left spluttering and groggy. Your chest feels horrible.
“I’ve seen my son’s health go downhill and, as a parent, I feel totally helpless.
“At the end of the day all you want to do is look after your children and their health.”
Elizabeth’s family GP, Dr Glyn Williams, of Westcourt Medical Centre, in Rustington, has become so concerned about the family’s state of heath that he has appealed to Arun District Council to intervene.
In a letter shown to the Gazette by Elizabeth, and addressed to the council, Dr Williams says: “This young woman’s council flat is damp and has mould growing on the walls. This is having an adverse effect on her health and that of her five-year-old son, Kyle.
“They are both suffering with recurrent respiratory infections and breathing problems that are exacerbated by their living conditions.”
He added: “I therefore recommend they are re-housed.”
A second letter, penned by the 22-year-old’s community midwife, also urged the council to review the family’s current housing situation “as soon as possible”.
Elizabeth said Kyle, now six, had daily coughing fits during the night, which she believed were caused by the mould found in the majority of rooms in her flat, including the children’s bedroom.
She added that Kaiden’s breathing, at times, became laboured and she was fearful for her youngest son’s future if nothing was done to help them.
A spokeswoman for the council said the local authority was aware of the family’s predicament.
She said: “We have carried out a recent inspection of the property and identified the likely causes of the dampness.
“Condensation is adding to the problem and there needs to be a mix of heat and ventilation through all rooms to help prevent this, which is not currently happening.
“We are arranging to install an air-management system and some external work will also be carried out to the property, including clearing of downpipes.”
The spokeswoman added the council believed this would be enough to rectify the problem and there would be no need to move Elizabeth and her family.