North Staffordshire mum: ‘My home has been riddled with damp for six years – now my sick baby’s at risk’

Mum Diane Swingewood says damp in her flat is putting her poorly baby’s health at risk.

The 38-year-old’s son Cain-Leigh was born nine months ago with a heart problem, and has recently undergone surgery.

Diane says a leak in the kitchen of her Aspire-owned flat in Chesterton means she has been left with a ruined kitchen floor, and the water has spread to the carpet in her hallway.

She claims she called the housing association to inform them about the problem but was told it was ‘not an emergency’.

Diane, of Loomer Road, said: “I’ve lived here six years and I’ve suffered every year since I moved in with damp.

Diane Swingewood and baby son Cain-Leigh with her damaged floor.

“I had a carpet man come out to look at putting new carpet in the living room and hallway and we found out a leak in the kitchen had ruined the floor. I had been able to smell damp but I didn’t know where it was coming from.

“When I rang Aspire they said it wasn’t an emergency and to report it online. I wasn’t able to get onto my online account and it took three phone calls to get someone to come out.”

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A member of staff visited Diane’s flat and discovered the leak was coming from her washing machine. She was told someone would come out to measure up for a new kitchen floor.

“I was told someone would come out the same day so I waited in. That meant I couldn’t go to the chemist to get my son’s prescription milk. No one came.

“I was really annoyed and upset. The main thing is I want to make sure my son is okay. He’s trying to crawl now and I can’t let him go that way because the hallway carpet is soaking wet. The damp is not good for him.

“I told them they should make it a priority with my son being the way he is. Somebody came out a few days later and they said I will have to wait until September before it can be sorted.”

Cain-Leigh was born with a heart murmur and underwent surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in July. They have to return to the hospital next week to find out whether he will need another procedure.

Diane said: “He’s not doing bad but we are going back on August 17 and will find out if he needs another operation. On top of dealing with my son I’ve got all this to worry about now. I feel like everyone is letting me down.”

Paul Malkin, head of customer services at Aspire Housing, apologised to Diane.

He said: “We have been working with Ms Swingewood to repair a leak caused by an incorrectly fitted washing machine hose, and the subsequent water damage to the floor.

“Whilst it is not usually Aspire’s responsibility to repair personal appliances, we understand that these are challenging times and we were happy to help out on this occasion.

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“Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of the extent of the leak, there was more water damage than we anticipated. Upon repairing the washing machine hose, our plumber arranged for further maintenance colleagues to attend to the damage to the kitchen floor.

“The floor is scheduled to be inspected with a view to replacing any damaged flooring shortly after. We apologise to Ms Swingewood for any undue distress caused by the experience.”

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