Jacqueline Kent

‘I do not know what else to do’: Jacqueline Kent

Desperate residents of a Dalston estate say the Town Hall’s lack of action to tackle dangerous black mould growing in their council flat has led to a health hazard.

Jacqueline Kent wrote a pleading letter to Hackney Council weeks ago after her elderly mother, Sybil, 88, was admitted to hospital and was found to have fluid in her lungs.

While receiving treatment she suffered a heart attack. Jacqueline said she fears that her mother’s ill health could further deteriorate if she returns home.

In her letter she warned the council urgent action was needed, saying: “The mould in this property is not only in the bathroom but in nearly every room… I believe my elderly mother’s health has deteriorated due to her living conditions in the flat and mainly sleeping with the mould in the bathroom.”

Sybil has been forced to sleep on a sofa bed in the living room because of hazardous spores from the mould.

Jacqueline, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from MS, said she believes the poor design of the 1970s flat, leaky pipes and faulty extractor fan are to blame.

She said: “I am at my wits’ end… I do not believe that this property is fit for human habitation and am sick and tired of hearing that I will get a phone call and no one calls.”

The mould problem is widespread throughout the property

The mould problem is widespread throughout the property

More than a month ago she sent her letter detailing the situation to Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville, her local councillors, Age Concern and the Hackney Citizen, saying: “I do not know what else to do.”  

The Hackney Citizen has visited her at home and can confirm exposure to the mould spores in the air causes breathing difficulties even after as little as 10 minutes spent in the property.

Council workers have visited to assess the situation and have taken some steps to remediate it. They have also apparently visited several times to remove asbestos from the property.

Jacqueline said: “Council workmen placed tape over the plug sockets in the living room because of the rising damp, thus meaning we cannot use them.”

But she said she was “disgusted” they had still not tackled the problem at source.

The Hackney Citizen informed Hackney Council on October 19 about Jacqueline’s situation and passed on her contact details, informing the press office that we would publish a story on this case if there was no improvement by the end of October.

Yesterday we contacted Jacqueline again and she said the situation had not improved. We have informed the council of this.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team