Wigan mother furious that vital work on her home won't be completed in time for Christmas

A Wigan mother-of-two is furious that vital work on her home will not be finished in time for Christmas and so is uninhabitable for her children.
Kimberley PrestonKimberley Preston
Kimberley Preston

The council house on Westwood Lane, Lower Ince, has multiple problems including damp and an infestation of slugs.

Kimberley Preston, 29, states the current conditions are ‘unlivable’, with her eight-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy struggling in particular.

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She said: “We are being expected to stay in these conditions.

Slugs have invaded the houseSlugs have invaded the house
Slugs have invaded the house

“There is only one room that we can live in and we haven’t got a bathroom. We’ve had to send our kids away this weekend because it’s just too cold. We’re still being charged full rent every month.

“I’ve been a Wigan Council tenant since I was 16, and now I’m nearly 30. I’ve always been a good tenant and have spent thousands on the house.”

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Work on the house began on November 29, with Mrs Preston saying the original agreement was for it to be completed by December 23.

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Mrs Preston says she has had problems with the property since moving in 12 years ago, with none of them properly addressed.

“I was homeless at 16 when I was pregnant, and I moved into this house in April 2010.

“I’m not exaggerating, it was actually a crack den. Within two months of moving in I was complaining about damp and mould.

“Last year I’d had enough, I told them to sort it or I would be seeking legal action.

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“There’s a cupboard under my stairs where the wall is completely black, the plaster is bubbling and the paint is falling off, with slugs climbing up it.

“We’ve had a solicitor who has been absolutely fantastic. It went back and forth with Wigan Council until they settled on October 5.

“They’ve ripped the entire house apart and have now told us it won’t be done in time. Our solicitor is trying her best for them to re-house us. It’s actually warmer outside than it is in the house.”

A spokesperson for Wigan Council said: “We work with all our tenants to ensure any repairs are carried out as soon as possible. We will always try and complete works around a tenant and their family to ensure minimal disruption, however should there be any safety issues or work that would deem a home uninhabitable, alternative accommodation is always offered.

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“The completion date for this work has been agreed with the tenant and while we had initially hoped for it to be completed before Christmas, further work was identified which has meant we will now complete in the New Year. We have engaged with the tenant throughout this process.

“We encourage tenants to report repair work which may be needed online via their housing account (https://housingonline.wigan.gov.uk/) and are committed to working with all tenants to ensure repairs are carried out as soon as possible.

“If any of our tenants have an emergency repair or an urgent repair issue out of hours please they should call 01942 489005.”

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