Man living on estate for 58 years uses pension to pay for repairs after council failures

A 60-year-old electrical engineer who has lived on the same council estate for 58 years has been left to pay for repairs on his home with his own pension.

John Geoffrey-Crickmore, of Carmichael Close on the Winstanley Estate in Battersea, claims he has spent at least £6,000 on new furniture and repairs to his home after Wandsworth council failed to remove damp and asbestos.

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said: “I used to trust the council – you expect them to have a duty of care which they haven’t to me.

“All they care about is saving pennies, not dealing with problems.” 

Pictures showing the damp in Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore’s walls (Picture: John Geoffrey-Crickmore)

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore moved into a different flat on the estate in September 2013 after his mother died. He had been her full-time carer.

As soon as he  moved into the new flat he said he found damp patches on the walls.

Last year, after heavy rain, Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said he noticed a damp patch on his ceiling had started to bulge.

He said: “I contacted the council and they did nothing. Then a big chunk of the ceiling full of asbestos fell on to my floor.

“I had to clear it all up myself and it was left like that for months.”

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said  the council sent builders three months after he complained, but they only “redecorated” and did not solve the issues of damp and asbestos in the rest of the flat.

He said: “The dampness came straight back – it was all over my furniture and the smell was atrocious.

“There was rotting wood under the floor and nothing was drying out.”

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said builders left one of his walls with the plaster torn off for months (Picture: Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore)

The council sent more builders in July, but Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said the damp returned again.

He said: “I’ve spent thousands in the past 18 months on something the council should be fixing.

“I’ve had to take money out of my private pension – all the hard work I’ve done in my life so I can retire without help and I’m spending it on this.”

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore suffers from a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure and arthritis.

He said: “The damp is right behind the new sofa – this one is probably going to get ruined, too.

“The whole situation is making my health worse, my blood pressure is through the roof and that’s dangerous, but they just don’t care.”

Mr Geoffrey-Crickmore said the council organised a builder to come to the flat yesterday, but nobody turned up.

He said: “I took a day off work. I’ve lost a day’s wages and nobody comes.

“The council aren’t looking after me and they’re not looking after other residents on this estate who have similar issues with dampness.

“I have seen the rise and fall of this estate over the years and it feels like the council is causing its controlled decline so they can knock it down and build private homes we can’t afford.”

A spokesman from Wandsworth council said: “We have carried out a series of repairs at this property in recent months and following a new report of a water leak have today arranged for a plumber to visit to investigate the source of the leak. We will of course arrange for any necessary repairs to be carried out.”

Pictured top: John Geoffrey-Crickmore outside his home (Picture: John Geoffrey-Crickmore)

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