'My mouldy council house could cause my sick toddler to die' says Milton Keynes mum

The little girl has a heart condition and has been rushed to hospital seven times in six months with breathing difficulties

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 10:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 10:12 am

MK Council is risking the life of a child with a serious heart condition by allowing her to live in a damp and mouldy council house, claimed a parent today.

Callie Dobbins has letters from health professionals describing the plight of her 19-month-old daughter Poppie, who was born with pulmonary stenosis - a narrowing of the heart valve.

This causes respiratory difficulties and these are made worse by breathing in damp and mould in the family's two bedroom bungalow on Eaglestone's Peregrine Close.

Poppie

Over the past six months, little Poppie has been rushed to hospital seven times. Each time she has been struggling to breathe and on the last terrifying occasion she turned blue and Callie feared she would lose her.

She's been diagnosed with reactive airway diseases, chest infections and pneumonia and has been prescribed different antibiotics, steroids, an inhale and special medicines to help open up her airways.

Yet her mum says MK Council has refused her application for a move to a more suitable house because the circumstance "are not serious enough".

Callie said doctors agree the current living conditions are exacerbating the problems. "Black mould grows up my walls and all over my floors. The whole place is damp and mouldy and Poppie is breathing it in and constantly ill because of it. There is no doubt that it is a very serious problem for her.""

Callie and family

She has asked the council in vain to be moved to a more suitable house. And her health visitor has also written a letter saying the family should be moved on medical grounds due to the condition of Poppie, who requires two monthly checks by a cardiologist and may face heart surgery in the future.

"I really feel that the council is putting her life at risk," said Callie, who also has a two-year-old son called Teddie and lives with her partner.

The young mum says she is too scared to sleep at night because Poppie is constantly coughing and needs her breathing checked.

She has been living in the bungalow since August 2019 and, to make matters worse during cold weather, says her heating has not worked from the start.

The black mould keeps growing

"Mears have been out lots of times but they can't seem to fix it. And it's the same with the mould. The council even did a damp and mould survey but they say the problem is 'minor'. How can it be minor when it is life-threatening to my daughter?" she said.

"There are also slugs coming in to the bedroom, cracks in the children's bedroom ceiling and their light fitting can't be used because it gives off a strange smell."

Recently MK Council offered to put the family up in a hostel or hotel for four weeks while they work on the bungalow.

"I'm not really happy with that," said Callie. "I certainly don't want to take Poppie to a hostel. And how do I know the mould won't come back when we return to the bungalow?

The mould is on the floors

"They have rejected my request for a permanent move as they feel my circumstances aren’t serious enough. I feel Milton Keynes Council have completely neglected their duty of care towards my daughter and are not taking her health and safety into consideration when making their decisions.

"I think it’s disgusting that the council think it’s acceptable for tenants to be living in these conditions and I dread to think how many other families are in my situation."

The Citizen approached Milton Keynes Council for a comment, asking if there is any chance of the family being permanently moved.

A council spokesman said: "We offered our tenant temporary accommodation in May so that work to fix this issue could be carried out by our contractor. After the fix is made, the family can move back into their home but at present we don’t have an alternative property to offer them."