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London council flat fury over ‘fly-infested’ block – OAP left in squalor issues plea

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Life for residents at 1-6 Dugour’s Place in Soho has been hell for more than a month now. Sam Taylor, in his seventies, lives in one of the apartments of the building. He noticed there was dampness on his kitchen walls in late August. It soon spread to the bathroom.

Six weeks have gone by and Sam claims he is still waiting for Westminster City Council, who have owned the block since 1991, to send someone to fix the damage. In the meantime, it has attracted flies and caused the walls and ceilings to bubble.

The pensioner said of the damp: “Some days it was like a small river coming down.

“It would last for about an hour.”

He tried to mop it up, but that didn’t help. Flies that he struggles to get rid of have invaded the home. “I don’t like killing them but they won’t go out the window.”

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Although Westminster City Council and various plumbers have looked at the property, the issue isn’t solved yet.

Sam added: “I just want them to stop the water coming in. It’s gone on a bit too long.”

He said this isn’t the first time they have been disrupted by a leak in the last years. He isn’t the only one in the building, either.

Next-door neighbour Claude Seidman, 57, first spotted water leaking through his kitchen ceiling more than a month ago. He thinks it comes from the flat directly above his and Sam’s.

He said: “It’s stripped away all the paint, it’s come through the light fixtures.”

Describing similar conditions to those of Sam, Claude mentioned he has to use a bucket to collect the water “coming through the ceiling”; the place is “full of insects and flies”, and he needs to keep the windows open to manage the smell.

“My concern is going to be when it gets colder outside,” he worries.

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His main fear is the mould: “I am worried about the respiratory issues that could arise from that.”

Further adding to his health concerns is the water that has leaked into the flat’s electrical fixtures and light fittings. “You’ll hear popping sounds and the fuse will cut out.

“If you turn on the light it’ll start crackling.

As the leak is in the kitchen, he is “reluctant to prepare or cook food there”. The cupboards, he explained, are “developing mould” too.

He thinks he may “pretty soon” not be able to live there anymore.

Just like with Sam, the council has sent plumbers to look at the reported issue but the origin of the leak remains unclear and the damages unfixed – with specialists telling him it “must be coming from inside the floor or walls”.

Westminster City Council has been contacted for comment.

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