Houses on 'forgotten' estate should be condemned, say concerned residents

The Bolton News: Chris Talbot with the large hole in his bedroom ceiling Chris Talbot with the large hole in his bedroom ceiling

CONDITIONS in a Radcliffe estate are so bad the houses should be condemned, anxious residents have claimed.

Tenants of the St Thomas’ Estate in the town centre allege they have been “forgotten” by Six Town Housing, which manages the properties.

Magda Csatlos, former chairman of the now disbanded Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) said rotten bricks with visible gaps between them, badly-designed leaking roofs and damp and mouldy conditions plague many of the 90 homes.

Magda claims that, during a TRA meeting in April 2012, residents were told work on renovating the estate to improve conditions would soon begin – but a Six Town Housing spokeswoman said this had never been confirmed.

It is hoped, the organisation said, that work will begin on the St Thomas’ Estate in the 2015/16 financial year.

Magda said: “It will cost Six Town Housing a fortune to sort these problems out properly. These buildings need condemning.

“It is like the safety of these houses is being ignored and we have all been forgotten.”

A large hole in 60-year-old Chris Talbot’s bedroom ceiling, brought on by damp crumbling plaster, means he is currently forced to live in his lounge.

Last month Chris, who has been a tenant in Seymour Walk for more than two years, also discovered the clothes hanging in his wardrobe were covered in green mould.

He said: “I have gone into the Six Town Housing offices with doctor’s notes saying I need to be rehoused for medical reasons as I keep getting chest infections.

“They last fixed the problem in winter 2012, but things have got worse since then. I just want a new home where I can be healthy.”

Pat Shaw, aged 67 and of New Church Walk, has to catch dripping water coming from the loft cavity in her spare room with a bucket.

She said: “The dripping is underneath a channel where two sloping roofs meet and the water is funnelling through the wall.

“A brand new electric fire was ruined after I left it there and discovered water had dripped on it. “Why should I have to throw away my own property?”

Dorothy Williams, aged 92 and of Howarth Walk, has mould clearly visible on the outside of her property and the walls in her living room are wet with damp.

Another resident of Howarth Walk, who did not want to be named, said her 17-year-old son had been in hospital three times with pneumonia due to the damp conditions. In two properties in Bridgefield Walk, one has a wall so damp it is rotting and the other has a wet wall in a child’s bedroom, Magda said. She also cited problems with uneven flagstones, concrete and lead hanging from roofing and rats coming out of sewer grating as serious problems within the estate.

Radcliffe East Ward Cllr Nick Parnell said: “I am only too glad to represent the residents of the St Thomas’ estate.

“If they contact me I am happy to deal with their problems.”

In Six Town Housing’s Neighbourhood Vision document for 2009 to 2014, it states all homes were brought up to the government’s decent homes standard by 2011.

The organisation’s spokeswoman said: “Six Town Housing takes seriously the concerns of residents on the St Thomas’ estate, which is why heating systems have been replaced and a feasibility study into the spalling brickwork undertaken.

“Options have been identified for planned maintenance which are expected to be included within the five year capital programme. “Work is expected to start in the 2015/16 year and all tenants will be contacted directly and in the meantime we will continue to carry out remedial repairs.”

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