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Radlett mother's fears over subsiding flat in Phillimore Place
A single mother is terrified her flat might collapse around her after huge cracks began appearing in its walls.
Samantha Randall, 27, who lives in Phillimore Place in Radlett, has been plagued by the cracks and by mould since she moved into the property five years ago, and believes the two might be linked.
As well as a floor to ceiling fissure in the cupboard in the hall, there is a network of fractures in a corner of the living room and one extending along the width of the corridor outside.
There is mould growing in her daughter’s bedroom, which she is constantly wiping away, and, in the past, newly hung wallpaper has blistered and peeled away from the walls three times.
She said: "I’m worried the foundations of the entire building might be subsiding. The cracks are all in the external walls rather than the plaster and the ones the living room were repaired a year ago but have come back.
"I had a new bath put in recently and they had difficulty fitting it because the floor wasn’t level. The front door is beginning to hang at an angle as well.
"There is a crack extending across the concrete floor in the corridor outside which makes me think it is a structural problem. I’m worried the whole block of flats is splitting apart.
"It’s getting steadily worse and I’m afraid, in a few years time, I’ll come back to my flat to find it has crumbled."
Miss Randall has forbidden her eight-year-old daughter from playing in her room because the reoccurring mould makes her fear for her health.
The flat, which was built 30 years ago, is managed by housing association Affinity Sutton and Miss Randall feels the organisation has not done enough to help.
She said: "People from Affinity Sutton have come in to look at the mould in the past. It got a little better but it keeps coming back. I was told by their contractors they would not fix the cracks because of lack of money.
"As a single mother trying to get back into work there is only so much I can take. I am confused and frustrated by Affinity Sutton. If they don’t fix it, this will only get worse and worse.
"I want to move out but I can’t afford to and I wouldn’t want to do a house swap because that would saddle someone else with these problems."
When Miss Randall wrote to Hertsmere MP James Clappison about her problems he responded by saying it seemed as though Affinity Sutton had not been "straight" with her and sympathised with her concern and frustration.
Other flats in the building have suffered badly from damp and cracking, with one resident complaining of a long fissure extending across her wall and ceiling.
A spokeswoman for Affinity Sutton said: "We understand that Ms Randall has concerns regarding the state of her property and we will work to resolve these as soon as possible."
She said contractors had carried out work to insure the flat’s extractor fans, insulation and vents were working properly and had left digital sensors to measure temperature and humidity, which they would be reading tomorrow.
The spokeswoman added: "We have no concerns regarding any issues relating to subsidence and are satisfied that the property is safe in this respect."
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