Damp house row drives Flintshire family ‘over the edge’

Reporter:

Staff reporter

A FAMILY forced to live in appalling conditions for 14 years said they are being driven over the edge.

Retired line manager John Finegan, 65, his wife Linda, 55, and their two teenage sons have suffered with ill-health and stress since the demolition of the adjoining property left their house, on Alyn View, Pontblyddyn, near Mold, with long-term damp.

The family has been in a long-running dispute with Flintshire Council on how to get the problem resolved.

Mr Finegan said: “The appalling conditions we have been forced to live in cannot be disassociated from the illnesses we are all suffering from. Our future looks bleak in all aspects of our lives, our home, our health and our ability to cope with everyday living. The stress of it all is driving us over the edge.

“The running costs of trying to keep our house warm is bleeding us dry financially.”

The dispute started in 1996 when the terrace property next door was demolished by the council leaving what was an interior wall exposed to the elements.

Mr Finegan said: “In the following months they failed to supervise the works to any decent standard and as a result failed to protect our house.”

Despite an out of court settlement of £40,000 split between the family, Mr Finegan said that this was only 20 per cent of the costs of restoring the house to its original condition.

North Wales AM Mark Isherwood who has been helping the family said: “After years of prevarication, delays, reinvention of the facts and denial of the structural and statutory realities, Flintshire Council must stop torturing a family whose health and well-being has been decimated in consequence of actions completely beyond its control.

“The Finegan family seek resolution not retribution and reality must now triumph over reluctance to face facts.”

A meeting between the family and Flintshire Council is set for September with an independent housing renewal manager to decide on the best course of action.

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “The council and Mr Finegan share a great deal of common ground over what repairs and improvements are required to the property.

“The council is attempting to work with Mr Finegan to resolve the issues. A scheme of work was put together totalling some £55,000, which would totally overhaul the property and bring it back up to a good standard.

“The only major difference between the two schemes of work proposed is the issue of extending the property. Mr Finegan is unwilling to accept any solution that does not include substantial extensions to both the side and rear of his property.

“The council therefore felt the fairest option was to appoint an independent third party to examine both schemes and provide a view on the best way to proceed.

“The council has ensured that resources are available to allow the work to proceed as soon as the extent of that work has been agreed.”

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