A TODDLER aged eight months has spent a week in hospital with bronchitis and pneumonia – which his family believe are caused by damp from a leaky roof at their Sheffield home.
Oliver Cotton was kept in Sheffield Children’s Hospital for treatment after becoming ill on Boxing Day at the maisonette in Fox Hill.
His mum Stacey Dale, aged 29, who lives there with Oliver and her four other children – two-year-old Lily-Mae, Megan, six, seven-year-old Kimberlie and Jake, nine – has been complaining about the roof for the last three years.
Oliver’s doctor has written a letter supporting the family, and says he believes the little boy’s condition could be worsened by the damp.
The GP, from Foxhill Medical Centre, says: “Oliver is suffering from recurrent chest infections.
“His mother tells me there is damp in their property and, if this is the case, it is certainly contributing to his chest problems.”
Stacey, who has been staying in hospital with Oliver, said: “When Oliver was admitted to hospital, I was worried because he had to have oxygen and be fed into his stomach.
“It ruined Christmas because I was in hospital with Oliver while my older children were with relatives.
“It’s not just Oliver who has been ill – Lily-Mae has needed an inhaler for breathing problems and I had a chest infection last year. We are constantly getting colds.”
Stacey said she wants to be moved to a different property because of the damp and because her family is too large for the three-bedroom home.
She said: “I withheld rent in protest at how long they were taking to fix the damp, and have been told I cannot be considered for a move until I have cleared the debt.”
Stacey’s father, Derek Dale, a former chairman of Woodside Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, Burngreave, said: “Water has been coming in through the ceilings and all that’s been done is the roof has been patched up.
“I’m not happy about my daughter and grandchildren living in these conditions.”
Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council cabinet member for housing, said: “I will be looking to see if Sheffield Homes could have done anything differently.”
Julie Jenkinson, of Sheffield Homes, said: “We are sorry to hear about Oliver and wish him a speedy recovery.
“The roof was assessed and repaired last July. We had no further problems reported until December, when Ms Dale reported a leak in her bedroom. This was not urgent.
“We have inspected the property and will be repairing the leak next week.
“There is condensation in Ms Dale’s property and we will be giving her advice on how to prevent this.”