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St Mary’s Path estate: ‘Only a tidal wave could make a block damp enough to need knocking down,’ says surveyor

PUBLISHED: 12:07 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:29 26 October 2017

Residents of St Mary's Path Estate, from left: Patrick Rodwell, Jean Rodwell, Yadilene Vallejo, St Mary's vicar Rev Simon Harvey, Sidney Rodwell, Jackie Hughes and Maureen Roberts. Picture: Polly Hancock

Residents of St Mary's Path Estate, from left: Patrick Rodwell, Jean Rodwell, Yadilene Vallejo, St Mary's vicar Rev Simon Harvey, Sidney Rodwell, Jackie Hughes and Maureen Roberts. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

An expert surveyor says the only reason the St Mary’s Path Estate could be damp enough to need knocking down would be if a tidal wave had hit it.

St Mary's Path Estate resident Jean Rodwell. Picture: Polly Hancock St Mary's Path Estate resident Jean Rodwell. Picture: Polly Hancock

Jason Mahoney, of Archway, was shocked to read the Gazette’s front page story last week about the possible flattening of the historic estate off Upper Street.

And he’s now offered his services free of charge to help prove the estate doesn’t need demolishing.

Landlord Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) says it has drawn up five options to rid the blocks of persistent damp problems – including knocking them down and starting again.

But Jason, a member of the Property Care Association, Which? Trusted Traders and the Associate Member of the Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers, said damp and mould issues were simply a ventilation problem.

“It’s the condensation – they just need better ventilation putting in,” he told the Gazette. “They need non-mechanical passive vents and humidity controlled extractor fans in other rooms.

"I honestly can’t think what justification there would be for knocking down large, purpose-built blocks of flats just because of damp."

Jason Mahoney

“I’ve been to lots of these kinds of properties, purpose built flats, and they have a lack of ventilation. It can cause health problems, not just the mould. Still air, if it’s not changed over, can cause problems.

“But it would take a tidal wave to have to knock a building down because of it. I honestly can’t think what justification there would be for knocking down large, purpose-built blocks of flats just because of damp.”

As well as demolishing the estate, ISHA is also looking into refurbishing it and the potential to build new homes on top of existing blocks. A public consultation is currently taking place asking people on the estate to vote for their preferred option, but many say they don’t have enough information to make a decision, and do not want to be forced out of their homes.

The housing association, headquartered in Blackstock Road, has commissioned a stock condition survey on the estate because of persistent damp issues. It has never answered the Gazette’s request for comment on the story

But it says on its website: “ISHA has previously responded on a case by case basis to rectify any issue.

St Mary's Path Estate resident Jackie Hughes. Picture: Polly Hancock St Mary's Path Estate resident Jackie Hughes. Picture: Polly Hancock

“However, with the persistence of damp and the age of the buildings, ISHA board thought it prudent to review the entire estate. This will involve financial investment to address damp as a whole and eradicate it completely, as well as to provide the properties with at least a further 30-year life span.”

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