Housing provider jumps to action after tenant’s family’s criticism

Maureen Puckering from Worley Mesnes, and her family contacted the Wigan Observer as The Guinness Partnership had left the terminal cancer patient in a damp and mouldy flat for 18 months.
Maureen Puckering from Worley Mesnes, and her family contacted the Wigan Observer as The Guinness Partnership had left the terminal cancer patient in a damp and mouldy flat for 18 months.

The family of a Wigan cancer patient who has lived in a damp and mouldy flat for more than a year has hailed the power of the press after criticism sparked a response.

Relatives of Maureen Puckering, who lives in Worsley Mesnes, expressed their delight after The Guinness Partnership finally took steps to rectify the problems following exposure in the Wigan Observer.

This paper recently reported how Ms Puckering, 55, and her family had faced an 18-month battle to improve the conditions in the Brockhurst Walk property.

Plaster had been taken off the walls in the utility room, there was mould on the bottom of drawers in the bedroom and family members also spoke of finding mice droppings in a kitchen cupboard.

They also complained that numerous calls to The Guinness Partnership had gone unanswered and even when they spoke to someone at the firm about the issues very little had been done.

However, just a couple of days after the Observer’s article surveyors visited the property and there is now a dehumidifier in the utility room and a vent fitted in the bedroom.

Her brother-in-law Bill Foster said: “The dehumidifier has literally got buckets of water out of the room near the front door.

“I mentioned about tanking that room because I think it’s coming from the ground and they said they would do something like that.

“The paper has worked miracles, it’s absolutely fantastic. They wanted to come out the day after the Observer had been in touch with them. I’m pretty clear it’s only because of the papers that this has got done.”

Ms Puckering’s sister Carol added: “It’s a shame that it has taken them so long but they have now responded pretty well.”

The Guinness Partnership apologised for the problems Ms Puckering has faced but said it had not been aware of slugs, worms or rodents being in the property as her family members had claimed.

The organisation also said it believed it had isolated the cause of at least some of the problems.

A spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry for the problems with damp that Ms Puckering has been experiencing in her home and the delays in addressing this.

“Our surveyor visited the property last week and we have already begun to deal with the problems by installing a vent and treating the walls in the bedroom.

“As part of our investigations, our plumber also visited and found a leak under the bath, which he repaired.

“We believe this was the cause of the damp wall in the utility room. We will visit Ms Puckering again this week, and we hope the room will soon be dry enough for us to re-plaster and decorate.”

Ms Puckering has faced a tough time in the property as she was flooded on Boxing Day 2015, having to spend several months in a hotel and only getting back into the property in April 2016.

Ms Puckering is also having chemotherapy and her family said they were worried about the flat’s effect on her health.