Sheffield council housing repairs: mum-of-five left waiting for Fox Hill home to be fixed since 2014

Leona Christie has been waiting more than seven years for repairs to her Sheffield council flat.

By Alastair Ulke
Thursday, 28th October 2021, 2:18 pm

Even if council workers arrived at her home in Fox Hill, she isn’t sure where they would start.

She could direct them to her children’s bedroom which has a hole in the wall to the outside world. Or first they could address the mould in her other girls’ bedroom.

They could fix the cracked bathroom tiles and the draft coming from under the bathtub, or how the front door poses a fire hazard because it has slumped in its frame and needs a ‘trick’ to jimmy it open. Or they could sort how her kitchen appliances are being held up by bricks.

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Sheffield mum-of-five Leona Christie says she is "so tired" of waiting for urgent repairs to her council flat. She has been waiting for some jobs since 2014.

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After waiting for some of these jobs at her flat on Edge Well Crescent to be fixed since 2014, Leona says she has ‘had enough’.

"It’s just rubbish,” said the mum-of-five. “I look around every single day and think about the safety of my kids.

"Moving into this flat was the worst decision of my life. It feels like nothing will ever be done. Part of me just wants to blow it up and start again.”

How has Covid pandemic affected the wait for council housing repairs?

Leona moved into the flat with her partner in 2014, and today has five children.

She says she was notifying the council about the need for repairs from day one.

Issues in that time include an incident when the flat block’s sewage came up through her bathtub. The cladding on the outside of the flat is rotten and there is mould growing in her windows.

But despite the flat, as she puts it, ‘needing repairs in every room’, she says the council has not attended to address her serious need for repairs in eight years.

Frustratingly, workmen did arrive unannounced in August 2020 – but as it was during a severe period of the Covid pandemic, she felt she could not let the men into her home.

Now, Leona says she is at her wits’ end.

"I’ve had about 14 inspectors come in the past two years,” said Leona. “They come, look around, say they will be in touch and nothing happens. The last was about a month ago.

"It’s just been hard for me. I’m so tired of it. I’m shipping my kids off to my dad’s this weekend so I can empty the rooms and take pictures to show how bad it is.

"It’s just not a place to raise someone.”

Why are repairs to council homes in Sheffield taking so long?

The Star contacted Sheffield City Council to confirm if there were any repairs scheduled for Leona’s flat.

Councillor Paul Wood, executive member for housing, said: “The Covid pandemic has caused a repairs backlog and we’re working through it as quickly as we can.

"We carry out 2,200 repairs and respond to 360 emergency repairs in our council homes every week. We have 6,300 outstanding repairs and 377 officers to carry out these repairs.

"Urgent and emergency work remains our priority and we are working within time limits for these call-outs.

"Our operations manager is contacting the tenant today to discuss the outstanding work.”