Families' fury on 'forgotten estate'

FAMILIES living on a crumbling estate, who say damp and mould are causing health problems in children, are lobbying the council for better homes. The Leys Estate in Dagenham was supposed to receive a �7million refurbishment in 2008/9, but due to the rece

FAMILIES living on a crumbling estate, who say damp and mould are causing health problems in children, are lobbying the council for better homes.

The Leys Estate in Dagenham was supposed to receive a �7million refurbishment in 2008/9, but due to the recession it did not happen.

But residents say they have been forgotten and are furious about having to put up with mould, damp, broken windows, doors which can be opened from the outside, leaks, cracks and nowhere for youngsters to play.

Parents claim some children have developed breathing problems because of the damp in the flats and houses, which let in water when it rains.


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Chairman of the Leys Tenants and Residents' Association Michael Pennock presented a petition for better homes to councillors at a Barking and Dagenham Council assembly meeting last week.

Mr Pennock said: "Properties on the estate are in a terrible state. They contain some of the worst housing in London.

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"We have surveyed the whole estate 26 times with council officers, councillors and MP Jon Cruddas.

"But still we have doors and windows missing or damaged for years, structural cracks and flats that are a fire hazard because of poor planning.

"Poor housing gives an area a bad reputation and may lead to the breakdown of the community."

Mr Pennock described damp and mouldy houses in Birdbrook Close, where crumbling asbestos has also been found.

He added: "Living in these conditions is a kind of torture. These are real problems that are not being addressed. These people deserve better."

Birdbrook Close on the Leys Estate was built in the 1960s and residents and ward councillors Lee and Phil Waker, say the homes were poorly constructed in the beginning.

Cllr Lee Waker said: "It's about time these issues were brought to the fore. The residents have my support all the way.

"Structurally, the estate should have been built much better and management down there has been poor.

"It either needs major refurbishment or complete redevelopment."

Jeremy Grint, head of spatial regeneration, said: "A programme of works was prepared to bring the homes up to the Decent Homes standard.

"It was to take place in 2008/9, but the resources of the capital planning programme fell short and we had to review the investment programme.

"What we are proposing to do now is to look at the problems over the next couple of months, work with the residents and look at how to find funding.

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