Home Local news Man questions council tax fees with condition of Barry flat

Man questions council tax fees with condition of Barry flat

by Editor

Paul Horton, 65, lives in what he’s christened the “forgotten estate”, describing it as one of the most exposed estates in Barry, and he’s got a point.

Phyllis Street runs the centre of the ridge between Barry Island and the Docks and Mr Horton says it gets “pretty rough” when a storm blows through.

Mr Horton, who worked in the building trade, has made a number of nifty alterations to his ground floor flat, including wood pannelling in the bathroom, boxing up exposed pipes in the living room, and putting decking in the back, however the first thing that hit us when we visited the flat was the smell of damp.

Mr Horton says it can get so bad that when you run your finger across furniture damp mildew builds on your fingertip.

He described how poor beading and damp polystyrene used as insulation means he cannot get rid of damp building in his living room and kitchen.

Barry And District News: Mr Horton says he finally wants to speak up about the conditions he lives inMr Horton says he finally wants to speak up about the conditions he lives in (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: Mr Horton has damp building in his living room and kitchenMr Horton has damp building in his living room and kitchen (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: He describes his council estate on Phyllis Street as the 'forgotten estate' with little maintenance doneHe describes his council estate on Phyllis Street as the ‘forgotten estate’ with little maintenance done (Image: Newsquest)

We’ve been here before, visiting a number of properties in Barry suffering the scourge of damp.

In November, we met Emma Magrin, mother to a severely disabled child, who said “someone has to start listening” as damp knocked out the ceiling of her bathroom in the semi-detached house she rents off the Vale Council.

There’re also problems with properties run by Newydd Housing.

Liam Williams described living conditions in his semi-detached house as “beyond a joke” after the housing association sucked out insulation from the wrong rooms and allowed rats to get in the walls.

Barry And District News: We met Ms Magrin in November last year who said someone has to start listening about conditions people are living inWe met Ms Magrin in November last year who said someone has to start listening about conditions people are living in (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: We met Mr Williams in December who said it was beyond a joke the conditions him and his family lived in in BarryWe met Mr Williams in December who said it was beyond a joke the conditions him and his family lived in in Barry (Image: Newsquest)

Insulation seems to be a big part of the problem and Mr Horton showed us a “porous” exterior wall he feels is allowing rainwater to get inside and damage the insulation in his property.

However, Vale Council, who manage the block, argue the damp is coming from Mr Horton hanging his clothes to dry inside – something he denies.

Barry And District News: Mr Horton believes poor beading on exposed walls is allowing water to get in the propertyMr Horton believes poor beading on exposed walls is allowing water to get in the property (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Horton, who is on universal credit and who has paid excess rent over fear of becoming homeless – which he was before moving to Phyliss Street – being housed in the notorious Holiday Inn at Cardiff Airport, says he sometimes feels he shouldn’t say anything, but he’s had enough.

“I feel I should stay here and stay silent and put up with it, but I will not,” said Mr Horton.

“It is a lovely flat, but the lack of maintenance, there’s no such thing as maintenance. We feel like we are neglected.”

Barry And District News: Mr Horton who used to work in the building trade has made nifty alterations to his flat including putting wood panelling in the bathroomMr Horton who used to work in the building trade has made nifty alterations to his flat including putting wood panelling in the bathroom (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: And decking out the backAnd decking out the back (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Sandra Perkes, Cabinet member for public sector housing, said: “In this case, officers have inspected the address and found that there is no water ingress or defect with the property.

“Rather, the issue is caused by condensation created inside the flat by the tenant drying clothes and using a paraffin heater rather than the central heating.

“Mr Horton has been given advice on how to improve the situation and another inspection has been arranged to monitor the matter.

“Further external upgrading work will also take place at this building later in the year.”

Words might mean something, but for Mr Horton, and Ms Magrin and Mr Williams, they need action.

“Every year the council tax goes up,” said Mr Horton. “What are we getting for it? It’s depressing.”

Do you suffer similar fates to those of Mr Williams, Mr Horton and Ms Magrin? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

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