A grandmother says her health is rapidly going downhill due to the atrocious condition of her council flat.
Anne Paton, 52, has lived in a ground floor flat in the Northfield area of Aberdeen for 20 years. She has encountered numerous issues throughout her stay there – but what happened recently was the final straw.
Mobile phone footage taken three weeks ago shows water and human waste streaming from the ceiling through Ms Paton’s bathroom light. The plaster eventually gave way – leaving a gaping hole in the room and rendering it unusable.
Ms Paton has been on the waiting list to downsize for the three years but feels this latest problem makes the need to move even more urgent.
Throughout her home is the smell of dampness, ventilation issues, wall cracks and mould. Ms Paton, a former cancer patient, no longer allows her grandchildren to visit – fearing her building is a health hazard and structurally unsound.
She told STV News: “I tend not to go into any of the other rooms except the rooms I sleep in. Very rarely do I sit in my living room because I don’t want to be in this house. It’s going to kill me.
“My kids want me to pack my bags and move in with one of them because it’s that bad. They are that concerned about my health that they want me to live with them until I find some other accommodation that’s suitable.
“I’ve been on the waiting list for a downsize for three years – I’ve never heard anything back. No phone call – no letters. Nothing.”
Ms Paton stripped off all the wallpaper in her home in order to show the the extent of the damage to the council.
Tanya Burnett, Ms Paton’s daughter-in-law, said many treasured family photographs had been destroyed after a built-in wardrobe in one of the bedrooms was taken over by thick black mould.
Ms Burnett said: “Everything , family photos, baby photos. Anything that’s sentimental is destroyed and had to be binned. There’s so much still boxed up because – basically – my mother in-law is sentimental and hasn’t got the heart to throw it out.
“This home is not habitable – it’s not a home anymore, it’s a house. The council never fix it, they just don’t seem to care. Breathing, COPD, spores – these things are all connected with mould. We’ve told this to the council many times but they just don’t listen.”
Kara Paton, Ms Paton’s daughter, is worried about her mother’s health: “It’s soul destroying to see my mum crying – put into hospital – the grandkids can’t stay over – it’s not nice. It should be a family home,” she said.
STV News asked Aberdeen City Council for comment on Ms Paton’s situation.
A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “At the time of a visit by building services the hygiene problems reported about the ceiling were not in evidence.
“As a precaution, an external contractor was asked to carry out a deep clean. A leak from the property above has, however, caused damage to the roof. Our team have made the bathroom safe and will arrange for full repair.
“The tenant has been advised how to raise any other concerns about her property directly with the council.”
In the meantime, Ms Paton is living in a house that she quite simply doesn’t want to be in – a place she feels is more uninhabitable by the day.