A PENSIONER is living an 'absolute nightmare' after a scheme to make her house warmer left black mould and mushrooms seeping out of the walls.
Eileen Patefield, 62, has suffered serious health problems after the cavity wall insulation she had installed at her Burnley home went badly wrong.
Mrs Patefield, of Marsden Road, had the work done through the Government’s Warm Front scheme, but it has left her house in an 'appalling' state.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle described the property as like 'living in hell' and has taken up her battle for compensation to restore the house.
The work was carried out in 2004, but the problem only became obvious in the last two or three years.
Since then the company that carried out the work on behalf of Warm Front have returned to take the cavity wall insulation out, but Mrs Patefield is no closer to being compensated for the problems.
She said: “It is an absolute nightmare living in conditions like this. For a start it is a complete health hazard.
“I regularly get bronchitis because I have been breathing in the damp spores, in the last year I have had it at least three times.
“Last January when I stripped the walls and saw the extent of the problem I was absolutely horrified. All my furniture, in every room of my house, is situated in the middle of the room so that it doesn’t get damaged.
“I only have a small home so I have to weave my way through the furniture.”
Mr Birtwistle is now fighting on Mrs Patefield’s behalf to get her £10,000 compensation, so her home can be put right.
He said: “It is a complete and utter disaster of a job. She had cavity wall insulation done, which didn’t need doing anyway as the house wasn’t suitable, but it has left unbelievable damp inside the house.
“Lots of the walls are covered in black, there are mushrooms coming out of the ceiling in the bedroom.
“I have spent hours and hours on this case. We are trying to get compensation so Mrs Patefield can have it put back to how it was.
“It needs a lot of the plastering taken out and redoing and a lot of redecorating.
“They have been and sucked the insulation out, but it needs putting back to a good condition. We have it quoted at £10,000 and a loss adjustor says that is reasonable. I think it very reasonable, it could be a lot more.
“We have had problems with the insurance company for the people that did the work though, but it needs to be sorted out.
“Since it started going wrong she has lived there for two years in hell, which has caused health problems as well.
“I don’t know how she manages it, I couldn’t live there, you can’t believe how bad it is until you have been in.
“It is so appalling, something has to be done to sort it out.”
Since 2005 Warm Front has carried out work on more than 300,000 houses in the North West, and since the scheme launched in 2000 it has helped more than 2.2million households.
Retired sales representative Mrs Patefield said: “All I want is the job putting right so I can live my life. I never have visitors round and I don’t blame them, they don’t even want to step inside.”
A spokesman for Warm Front said: “Warm Front is committed to providing the highest level of customer service and we are investigating this as a matter of urgency. It is worth noting that all accredited cavity wall insulation installs are covered by a 25-year guarantee by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency.
“Naturally we will contact Mrs Patefield to discuss this and to address her concerns in full.
“Since 2000 Warm Front has assisted more than 2.2million households. The overwhelming majority of customers are satisfied with the level of service and are now living in homes which are warmer and more affordable to heat as a result of the help provided.”