Family ‘torn apart’ by refurbishment

Ian Labrum is unhappy at having to stay in his house while work is being carried out.
Ian Labrum is unhappy at having to stay in his house while work is being carried out.

A MORPETH man says his family has been torn apart through massive disruption to his home.

Fed-up Ian Labrum was told a range of work would be carried out to his Hollon Street home as part of Castle Morpeth Housing’s improvement programme.

The work would include re-wiring, installing a new heating system and damp proofing.

But Mr Labrum says the refurbishment, which is scheduled to take 21 days, has left his home virtually inhabitable and his two 13 and 16-year-old children are unable to visit.

“It is upsetting,” he said.

“I have children, but they can’t stay while the work is going on so it means I can’t see them. They certainly can’t stay here and one of them has asthma so I’ve told her to stay away because of the dust. Their beds are still packed away and the bedrooms are contaminated with dust from the building work.”

Work began on the property last month, but Mr Labrum, who lives on his own, says it has caused huge inconvenience.

The unemployed 49-year-old says he has been left without electricity from 9am to 6pm, furniture has been damaged and though he has not been offered alternative accommodation during the work, the house is virtually impossible to live in.

“They are re-wiring the property, but I’m still expected to live in it and it is almost impossible to live there at the moment,” he said.

“I haven’t got electricity or use of the house for the whole day and there have been complications all the way through the work. I can’t cook or eat anything in the home so I’m just wandering around the town all day.

“I’ve had to put all my personal belongings in the old shed at the top of the garden so all my furniture is damp. I’m expected to constantly move things around the house to suit the workmen, with no help because they won’t touch it in case they damage things.”

Castle Morpeth Housing has apologised for the disruption, but says there is little it can do.

A spokesman said: “We apologise for the disturbance caused to Mr Labrum while our contractor Mears works on his home, but unfortunately some disruption is inevitable during works on this scale.

“Castle Morpeth Housing is investing several thousand pounds in this property, with a complete re-wire, new damp proofing and a replacement heating system.

“This is one of more than 1,500 homes we have refurbished over the last three years and unfortunately it is not financially viable to re-house tenants while work is carried out, unless there are health reasons why they cannot remain. We will do whatever we can to address Mr Labrum’s concerns and hope he will enjoy his property again once the work is complete.”