Housing provider's U-turn over Northampton family of four who were left with no bathroom ceiling in freezing conditions

"I have no ceiling in my bathroom. Nothing at all. It's freezing cold. It's November. I have got kids."

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 7:30 am

A Northampton family of four were set to be left with no ceiling in their bathroom this winter after their housing provider ripped it out to remove asbestos.

James Collingwood, his partner and two children (12 and 10 years old), were initially told on November 10 that they will have to wait until February for Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) to replace the bathroom ceiling at their home in Drayton Walk, Kingsthorpe.

After James spoke to Chronicle & Echo, NPH has made a U-turn and promised to fix the ceiling by Saturday (November 27).

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James Collingwood pointing with his ripped out bathroom ceiling

Before he heard about the U-turn, James, 33, said: "NPH came round and ripped it out and told us they won't do anything to it until February.

"They just said they are fully booked. They said it will take more than a day to fix. I don't care if it takes a week, it's their problem.

"It's very important [to get it fixed]. I have no ceiling in my bathroom. Nothing at all. It's freezing cold. It's November. I have got kids. It's freezing cold and all the heats escaping out.

"The kids don't want to go in the bathroom. They don't want to be in there at all. The bathroom is a nice time to relax, but it's not like that anymore.

"The insulation in the ceiling has been left exposed as well. You need breathing apparatus to install it, so surely it shouldn't be sat there exposed for months.

"I asked them to put a temporary ceiling in but they said that will still take a day to fit.

"We have lived here for 12 years, if it was that important to rip out why didn't they do it years ago? Ripping it out could have waited, couldn't it? I don't get it."

An NPH spokeswoman explained the situation and confirmed the issue will be fixed this Saturday, and not in February as first promised.

The spokeswoman said: "We visited Mr Collingwood’s home in October after we received reports of mould and damp in the bathroom.

"During the visit, our tradesperson didn’t identify any structural problems that could be contributing to the problems, but they did recommend that the extractor fan on the bathroom ceiling should be replaced as soon as possible.

"The bathroom ceiling is artexed and there is a chance this contains asbestos, so we asked our specialist asbestos removal contractor to remove the ceiling safely. They carried out this work on November 10 and due to a backlog of works, the next appointment available to fix the ceiling was on February 14.

"I understand that this waiting period isn’t ideal, especially as the weather is getting colder.

"Our repairs manager has been in touch with the resident today and has made an appointment to repair the ceiling and treat any remaining mould within the property on Saturday.

"He will also be visiting the property today (Wednesday) to inspect the situation and make sure the ceiling is safe.”

The spokesman also said the insulation on show is not dangerous as long as it is 'undisturbed'.