Residents on a Durham street have critisised a housing association for the ‘neglect’ of their homes which are ‘impossible to heat and riddled with mould problems’.

Families living on Farnham Road in Newton Hall have told how their homes are freezing cold in the winter, and have expressed concerns for their kids’ health as they can’t get rid of black mould growing inside.

The homes, owned by housing association Believe Housing, were put up in 1964 and are reportedly meant to have been temporary buildings but still stand today.

The company say they have already agreed remediation work to address some of the issues at the homes.

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Clare Stewart, 36, a taxi driver who lives in one of the homes with her two children, told The Northern Echo: “We’ve got no proper insulation, the roof is made of metal so it loses all the heat and the windows are drafty. It’s just a nightmare.

The Northern Echo: Black mould growing on one of the walls in Clare's home. Picture: NORTHERN ECHOBlack mould growing on one of the walls in Clare's home. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

“In the winter we have to have the heating on all day every day because they lose so much heat. I’m dreading this winter with the way energy bills are going.

“We’ve got mould which just keeps growing back. Believe come around and say they’re using this magic mould paint but it just comes back.

“They’re lovely big houses but they’ve just been neglected. There are estates getting solar panels and new windows and we haven’t even got insulation in the roof, it's like living in a conservatory.”

Another resident, Pauline, who lives with four kids on the same street told how she too has black mould, windows that rattle in the wind and leaks.

The Northern Echo: Black mould growing on the windows in Clare's home. Picture: NORTHERN ECHOBlack mould growing on the windows in Clare's home. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Pauline said: “They’re big houses but there’s just so many problems with them.

“They’ve got sloped rooves and the drainage gets blocked up with leaves so we get leaks when it rains and there’s black mould in my son’s bedroom - it’s not healthy.”

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Now Durham MP Mary Foy has joined the residents’ campaign to call on Believe to do something about the properties.

Mary Foy told The Northern Echo: “I was obviously concerned when I was contacted by several residents regarding their properties on Farnham Road, so wanted to meet with them in person so I could chat to them about the issues they were raising.

“Following this meeting, I have already been in touch with Believe Housing who have started looking into things already, and I'll be working with both Believe Housing and residents to resolve some of the matters in the future.

“If anyone in this area is a Believe tenant, and has similar concerns,  I would urge them to get in touch with Believe Housing immediately to make sure they are aware of the issue, or you can contact my office and I would be happy to pass this on”

Ruth Dent, Director of Assets and Compliance at believe housing, said: “We appreciated it when Clare brought matters to our attention and have already agreed remediation work to address the issues at her home. 

“We’ve also been surveying other properties to identify work that could be of benefit. 

“At believe housing, the safety and comfort of customers is always our priority and we’re constantly looking at how we can improve our homes and services through an extensive programme of investment.

“We also continuously work with partners to seek external funding to maximise the impact of our work. We were recently awarded £3.4m from the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and are investing a further £1.69m in this ongoing scheme to improve the energy efficiency of almost 1,000 homes. 

“If any customer has concerns about their home we’d urge them to contact us directly so we can investigate as soon as possible.” 

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