‘My breathing is bad and I can’t have friends over’: Mum’s despair after eight years in damp-ridden Canonbury flat

PUBLISHED: 09:31 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:33 02 May 2018

Ashleigh Hughes in her damp-ridden home on Canonbury's Marquess Estate. Picture: Lindsay Riley

Ashleigh Hughes in her damp-ridden home on Canonbury's Marquess Estate. Picture: Lindsay Riley


A council tenant says she feels helpless and isolated after eight years in a mouldy, damp-ridden home on Canonbury’s Marquess Estate.

Ashleigh Hughes and her 10-year old daughter are living out of waste bags instead of closets, because their clothes would otherwise be drenched in water.

She’s often forced to get rid of furniture and has stopped buying replacements, saying they’d only get damp and fall apart.

“I don’t want to put anything in this house, because what’s the point?” she told the Gazette. “It’s all going to get damaged anyway.

“We’ve had to remove some carpets because they were just soaking wet.”

Ashleigh said she even resorted to withholding rent payments to get the council’s attention, but it didn’t work.

“I told them I’d pay my rent but to please come and fix the problem,” she said. “So I paid them all the money I owed them and then I didn’t hear anything from them afterwards. It’s not normal to live like this.”

Ashleigh’s sent several repair requests but in the past eight years says all she’s received from the town hall is foam wall insulation, which hasn’t helped solve the issue.

To make matters worse, she says the soggy environment is making her health worse.

“Physically my breathing is bad,” she said. “And mentally, I can’t have anyone over, because it’s embarrassing. So I’m isolated. I’m on my own all the time.

“I finally got through to them this week and they said they’ll be coming in three weeks. But the amount of times I’ve sat here all day waiting for someone to come, but nobody turned up – I’ve lost count how many times that has happened.”

Islington Council leader Richard Watts last year acknowledged that chronic damp has left lots of the town hall’s housing stock unfit for purpose. In April, it launched a £22million programme to tackle the issue on the Andover in Finsbury Park and the Girdlestone in Archway.

A council spokesman said on Tuesday: “We are sorry to hear of Ms Hughes’ concerns and are aware that she has had ongoing issues with mould in her flat.”

And he vowed: “Our surveyors attended the property in March to assess conditions, and we have attended again today – and will visit again next week. We will continue to work with Ms Hughes to sort out this issue.”

Latest Islington News Stories

44 minutes ago

Burglars ransacked an elderly woman’s Highbury home – and she was left “shivering” in her garden for five hours waiting for the police to arrive.

A fire has broken out on the roof of Highbury Leisure Centre.

From start-ups to household names, the Gazette takes to the streets each week to find and profile a local business with a difference. This week we spoke to a Newington Green cobbler who has been fixing and flogging shoes to the community for the past 35 years.

Yesterday, 17:03

Pleasance Theatre Trust has been awarded £47,000 to deliver a new youth outreach programme centred in Cally’s Market Estate.

Yesterday, 09:54

A man has been charged with the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old in Tufnell Park.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Elderly people fought to save a Highbury day centre from closure at a heated full council meeting last night, during which the mayor of Islington told the borough’s housing boss to “shut up”.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Cops have made two arrests in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old man in Tufnell Park on Tuesday.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now