Breathing problems blamed on mouldy Worthing flat

Roz Blackman with Jessica
Roz Blackman with Jessica

A PREGNANT mum-of-three is begging Worthing Homes to relocate her and her family – after her mould-ridden flat has caused two of her children to have breathing problems.

Roz Blackman, 29, lives in Cambourne Court in Shelley Road, Worthing, with husband Paul, 11-year-old Sophie, eight-year-old Joe and one-year-old Jessica.

The family has been living in damp, mouldy conditions for the best part of four years. Since moving into the two-bedroom property, both Joe and Jessica have developed breathing problems, with Jessica using an inhaler four times a day.

Roz said: “When we moved in there was no sign of mould at all. Then it started to creep into the girls’ bedroom and the lounge. Now I have had to move Jessica out of there because of her breathing difficulties – when I showed the doctor pictures of the mould, he said there was no doubt it would have contributed to both Jessica’s and Joe’s condition.”

Roz said the mould in the bedroom had got so bad, it had started to grow on Jessica’s cot mattress and ruined Sophie’s wardrobe and clothes.

“The amount of shoes and clothes I have thrown away is terrible,” she said. “Somehow, Sophie seems completely unaffected by the mould, but she has always been quite resilient. But it is unfair to make her sleep in that horrible bedroom.”

Roz said she constantly keeps the windows open and the heating on in her flat – on the advice of the Environment Agency, and at the expense of high electricity bills.

Roz said: “Around two years ago, Worthing Homes tried to combat the mould in the bedroom by fumigating the flat, but the mould came back stronger than ever. It made such a mess I wouldn’t have it again.”

Space is also an issue with the Blackmans, with Roz’s step-son Jamie also visiting on weekends. The flat is so cramped for the family, Roz and Paul sleep in the living room.

“I am worried about what will happen when the baby arrives,” said Roz. “I don’t want to bring a newborn baby into this mouldy flat, where there is no space whatsoever. We are on a waiting list for a bigger place but I’m starting to feel a bit desperate now.”

Worthing Homes said the housing association purchased Cambourne Court in 2010, and is spending £2.6million on refurbishing the flats.

A spokesman said: “Worthing Homes acknowledges some of the mould issues are a result of the age and construction of the building; it is hoped the major improvement works will address the problems relating to the cold bridging and insulation. Similarly, the new gas-fired central heating and new roofing being installed will also ensure that the flats are adequately heated.”

The housing association added it had left a mould cleaning kit at the flat, after the family had declined having the mould treated for a second time.

Worthing Homes also said the Blackman family was now a priority on the relocation waiting list. A spokesperson said: “The Blackman family is now in band A, which places them in a very strong position to find suitable alternative accommodation for her and her family. Worthing Borough Council has now confirmed the change of category, and Mrs Blackman has now been advised of the decision.”