Heart op girl must stay in mouldy Northampton flat

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A toddler who is suffering repeated chest infections will not be moved out of a mouldy Northampton council flat, despite the advice of health visitors.

Two-year-old Hermione Richards had open heart surgery a year ago, and lives with her mum, Keeleigh, 25, in a Northampton Borough Council flat in Arbour View Court, Thorplands.

But NHS health visitors have expressed worries about Hermione’s health because of chronic damp, which has caused large patches of black mould in every room, including the toddler’s bedroom.

The council refuses to move the family but said it would instal some damp prevention measures.

A letter from Hermione’s NHS health visitor to the council, in support of a move, said: “There is damp and mould in every room. The family has taken measures to resolve this problem by bleaching the walls, moving furniture away from the walls and keeping air vents open.

“My biggest concern is for Hermione’s health. Despite having her cot on an inside wall there is mould on the legs and the mattress has already had to be replaced. Hermione has had recurrent chest infections.”

The air in the flat retains condensation, which runs down the sofa and also gathers on Hermione’s bedroom walls, under carpets and around windows.

Mrs Richards insists the property is at fault as she is not doing anything to create excess moisture in the air, but the council says it will not move her.

Councillor Mary Markham, cabinet member for housing, said: “Condensation, damp and mould can be very unpleasant and a persistent problem. We have been working with Mrs Richards to find solutions to reduce mould and damp. A new heating system and extractor fans will be installed and we’ll be improving the insulation.”