RESIDENTS allege their health is being damaged by a green growth on the sides of high-rise council apartments.
Tenants and leaseholders spokesman Syd Hall said that he and his wife are scared to open the window of their third floor flat at Crompton House in Scholes Village for fear of “getting a bad chest from spores”.
Wigan and Leigh Housing ALMO is currently locked in a battle with contractors over culpability - and is withholding final payments - after the dark discolouration appeared on north-facing walls of the tenements.
Bu housing chiefs today strongly assured tenants that although they are angry that the “algae” makes the flats look unsightly, there was “no evidence” of health risk.
Mr Hall, who has taken to wearing a face mask when he passes the discolouration, claims that more than 50 residents have reported developing bad chests which they are linking with the strange growth. Although there hasn’t been any medical confirmation that it may be responsible.
He said: “We are deeply concerned with this green substance that is growing on the outside walls of six of the seven high rise blocks of flats at Scholes Village which has been going on now for two years.
“I have spoken to the ALMO to ask if there had been any further developments and I was amazed to be told it would be next year at the soonest before anything was done about it.
“I have spoken to several of my neighbours in Crompton House asking them if they had suffered any chest or breathing problems lately and all of them said yes.
“This green substance has spores growing out of it some as long as half an inch and during the recent strong winds I observed them floating in the air.
“Both my wife and I have had chesty colds for the last six months non stop and my wife will not allow a window open in our flat owing to her concerns with the spores from green substance getting into our flat.”
But Chief Executive of Wigan and Leigh Housing Ashley Crumbley denied the problem was “in the territory of health risks” but admitted he was “very annoyed” to find the visual appearance of the flats being detrimentally affected.
He said: “Tenants and leaseholders continue to enjoy the major benefits from energy insulation projects with energy bills which are much, much lower and homes are much warmer.
“The issue we are dealing with is in effect the discolouration of the external render.
“Let us be clear this is not a fungus with spores but green algae which is a plant which is common in our environment and I notice quite a number of buildings are affected this year by green algae, but you will also find it of rocks and tree barks, so you will see plenty of it about at the moment on a stroll through Haigh Hall.
“It has been a damp year so this naturally occurring plant has flourished.”
He said that it had received a report stating the algae growth on the outside of the flat was having “no impact” on the new insulation.
Mr Crumbley said: “The contractors have offered to treat the surface and kill the algae.
“At this stage we have not accepted the proposal because we are seeking a long term solution to this problem.
“We are trying to resolve this with the contractors but we are leaving open to ourselves the option to pursue this legally.”