A desperate mother has slammed a housing association after she says damp and mould caused her 4-year-old son to become ill.

Lucy Smirk, 28, and her two children aged nine and four have been living in a flat in the former Cliff Hotel on Portsmouth Road for six years.  

The Grade II-listed building has fallen into disrepair and since 2020 the family have been subject to constant leaking, causing damp and mould.

The mother of two said that over the last four years Stonewater had sent contactors out ‘dozens’ of times, but nothing had solved the issue.

She said: “All our family are asthmatic, and my 4-year-old son now has a respiratory infection that the doctor said is directly caused by damp and mould.  

“It’s hard enough on my own with two children. I can’t make this place a home if it is not even a safe building.

“I have reported so much to Stonewater – it feels like they could not care any less about our family’s situation. I think the company is appalling. 

“The kids can’t even have their friends here – it's just not safe.”

Daily Echo: The family have filled more than 50 water bottles in the last 18 monthsThe family have filled more than 50 water bottles in the last 18 months (Image: NQ)Over the last 18-months the family have collected more than 50 giant water bottles of rain that has poured through the bedroom ceiling.

The desperate mother added: "We have been collecting water in a dehumidifier which has also hiked up my electricity bill - it just gets worse. 

"Stonewater have offered me £7.50 a day for every day it is on - that doesn't even scratch the surface."

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The building is so poorly maintained that the family have almost been hit by falling debris from the side of the building.

Daily Echo: Chunks of the building have begun to fall awayChunks of the building have begun to fall away (Image: NQ)The Cliff Hotel falls under the Peartree ward and Lucy has been working with ward councillor Simon Letts for more than a year to try and get the issue resolved.

Cllr Letts said: “We have tried every approach we can – this is a listed building, so it is considered an asset to the city.

“The situation is deplorable. In 19 years of being a councillor I have never seen an example of a clear lack of service to a tenant as bad as this.”

In response to Lucy’s issues, a spokesperson for Stonewater Housing said: “We’re really sorry that it’s taking longer than expected to fully rectify the issue in Lucy’s home.

“Our specialist contractors have been working to find the root cause of the damp, as well as treating the affected areas.

“It’s been more complex than normal because of the nature of the building, which is a converted former hotel.

“Meanwhile, our dedicated damp and mould team have been in regular contact with Lucy and we have offered temporary alternative accommodation while we work to find the family a more permanent move in the local area, where they’d like to remain.”

Lucy said that she had been offered temporary accommodation in Shirley but added that it would not be possible to get her children across the city from Shirley to where they attend school in Woolston.