Fears for safety as family’s house falls down around them
THE parents of three young children say they fear for their safety living in a house with subsidence, cracked walls and plaster falling off.
The ordeal for Louise Bicknell and her partner Steven Painter began six years ago when they moved to the council property in Tachbrook Road.
They noticed that plaster seemed to be puffed up and said they were not told about any problems with the house.
As time went on the problems worsened and now they feel trapped in a morass of council bureaucracy involving housing officers, surveyors and structural engineers.
Louise said it had taken a toll on her health – she suffers from epilepsy – and her relationship with her partner.
But most of all she worries for her children – Jack, aged nine, Aimee, seven, and Demi, four.
Louise said: “We’ve got big cracks in every room, part of the floor in the front room has dropped by about six inches and exposed brickwork where plaster has fallen off.
“When my children are asleep in bed I’m worried what might fall on them or happen with the house if the whole wall is going to come away. We feel trapped. We’ve asked for a move but the council said it’s not a hazard! We can’t get a transfer – who would want to move here? We have thought about renting elsewhere, but getting a deposit might be a problem and there’s nothing to say we could find anything suitable we can afford.”
The three bedroom semi-detached was underpinned on one side by Warwick District Council but it has not solved the problem, said Louise. Partner Steven works for Glendale, the council’s garden and ground maintenance contractor. He said: “Louise was in the house one day and heard a big bang and found plasterboard on the bathroom floor.
“We like to keep the house in good order but when we decorate the plaster falls off and we’ve got to the point now that we think, why bother if the plaster is falling off and cracks appearing.
“And it’s costing us more to keep the house warm because a lot of the heat is going out through the cracks.”
Louise said: “We were on holiday last week and we didn’t want to come back to face all this bother again.
“Because of the strain I’ve had to increase my dosage of medication to keep my epilepsy under control. It has brought on quite a few attacks.”
The couple think the house could date from the early 1900s and said they have had three visits by structural engineers and three surveyors out to see the house over the years.
“We get a lot of duplication and a lack of communication between those who come out and look at the house and the council and the problem has never been solved.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The underpinning work was carried out in 2010 following a structural survey, it is usual for some “settlement” after such works. Now this has been brought to our attention we will inspect the property and follow up as always.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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