Disabled man sleeping on sofa after five-month wait for repairs at Sheffield council house

A disabled man has been made to wait five months for mould at his council home in Sheffield to be cleared, despite sleeping on the sofa to protect his health.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 8:54 am

The walls and ceiling of Barry Fowlston’s flat in Birley are badly stained due to a damp problem, which has been ongoing for months.

The 65-year-old, who has the serious lung conditions COPD and emphysema, says he first reported the issue in February this year but has been made to wait until July 16 for someone to come and carry out the necessary repairs.

In the meantime, he and his partner Michelle have been forced to sleep on the sofa in their living room to protect his health, with their request for temporary accommodation being rejected.

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COPD sufferer Barry Fowlston and his partner have been sleeping in their living room since March due to a damp problem in their bedroom. Picture Scott Merrylees

Mr Fowlston said: “I shouldn’t have been made to live like this since February when I’m disabled and my health is at risk.

“I’ve had enough. We can’t sleep on the settee. We’ve been getting two or three hours of sleep a night, if that, but they’re refusing to put us into temporary accommodation while we wait for it to be fixed.

“I’m disgusted. The council has a duty of care but it feels like they couldn’t care less. We’re paying our rent and our council tax, and it’s ridiculous that we’re being expected to live like this.”

Mr Fowlston claimed that the source of the damp remained a mystery.

Barry Fowlston says he first reported the damp problem to Sheffield Council in February but is still waiting for anything to be done. Picture Scott Merrylees

He told how it was initially thought to be down to a leaky pipe but a plumber visited and ruled that out, and then a further inspection found no fault with the brickwork, which was the other suspected cause.

He said that someone was coming to strip back the wallpaper, remove the mould and use a special paint to prevent it reappearing.

The NHS website says that people with respiratory problems should stay away from damp and mould as it produces allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.

A spokewoman for Sheffield Council said it had initially offered to carry out the work on July 7 but the tenants could not make that date, so the date was moved back to July 16. She declined to comment further on the matter.

Damp patches on the walls and ceiling of Barry Fowlston's council home in Sheffied. Picture Scott Merrylees