Mum's anger over cracks in house

AN Ipswich mum has likened a battle with housing officers over the state of her home to banging her head against a brick wall.

AN Ipswich mum has likened a battle with housing officers over the state of her home to banging her head against a brick wall.

Susan Daniels, 35, believes her family terrace is slowly slipping into the ground. The mother of three said she has seen the house gradually fall apart in the 15 months since moving to the Queens Way property.

The problem was made worse when Ms Daniels and her children returned from holiday two weeks ago to find that giant cracks had appeared along the walls on one side of the house, and that doors were refusing to open and close properly.

A leak was discovered by Anglian Water shortly afterwards in a mains water supply running between Ms Daniels's property and their neighbour's house. A hole was then dug and repair work to the pipe carried out.

Ms Daniels requested a council surveyor be sent to assess the damage inside the property but she was unhappy with the result. She said: “I was told it was an old house and that either the original plaster had blown or the new plaster that had been applied was incompatible!

“But door frames don't just move overnight. The skirting boards have come away in my children's bedrooms and I have to open their doors from the outside because they aren't strong enough - I think this poses a real fire risk.

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“It's like banging my head against a brick wall. Our housing officer said they can only go on the recommendation of a surveyor.”

Next door neighbour Lee Markwell, whose house is not owned by the council, saw similar cracks appear around his property soon after the leak was fixed. He said: “As soon as Susan asked me if I had noticed a similar problem I became aware of cracks around the house. There are cracks appearing in the space of weeks on both sides of door frames.”

An Ipswich council spokesman said: “We have carried out a survey on the walls of the property and are considering appropriate methods of repairs to the cracks on the wall. We will also be carrying out repairs on the external front and rear doors this week.”

John Sparks, chartered surveyor, agreed to carry out a preliminary inspection of the house at Ms Daniels's request.

He said: “On the basis of a brief preliminary inspection I cannot be certain that it is the water supply pipe which is the cause of the cracking but I can understand why an occupant would be alarmed when cracks started to appear so quickly.

“Only when a detailed investigation has been made will it be possible to accurately determine what has moved and whether any further works are required to stabilise the building.”

Is enough being done to help occupants of council houses? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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