A housing association is to demolish 15 family homes riddled with dampness and mould after complaints they had been ‘in disrepair for decades’.

The properties in County Durham will be pulled down after residents said they were ‘impossible’ to heat and ‘plagued’ with issues.

Believe Housing began consultations to demolish the houses in Farnham Road, Newton Hall, in September after people blamed ‘neglect’ for the problems in their homes.

Now it has been announced the homes require extensive work to meet modern standards and are no longer economically viable.

Some 81% of tenants backed plans for demolition following a six-week consultation period, with just 6% voting against it.

But one resident, Pauline Hardman, said the decision will have a negative impact on her neurodiverse family.

Ms Hardman, who lives in one of the homes with her partner and four children, said: ‘I was part of the campaign but getting my home demolished was never the intention.

‘I was hoping a bit of human decency would prevail and they would agree to fix the properties.’

Residents pictured outside the properties, described as ‘left in disrepair for decades’ (Picture: North News & Pictures Ltd)

The mum told how she has spent five years ‘curating and creating’ her home to adapt to her family’s sensory needs.

She described the decision as ‘bleak’, adding: ‘I wish we had good quality social housing that everyone had access to.

‘Instead, these houses are in this state because they’ve been neglected.

‘They’ve been left in disrepair for decades.’

However, Clare Stewart, a tenant in favour of the demolition, said the houses had ‘gone past the point of fixing’.

Ms Stewart has been ‘plagued by damp and mould’ while living at the property for the past seven years.

‘It is what it is, if I have to move, I have to move,’ she said.

‘I’d like to stay in the area as my daughter goes to a local school.

‘I do drive, but that is not the case with all residents, so I understand some are apprehensive.’

Residents blamed ‘neglect’ for problems in their homes (Picture: North News & Pictures Ltd)

‘Believe has given us options and have been really good with this situation, everything moved really fast,’ she added.

Believe, also known as Calder Homes, said the properties were initially built as temporary accommodation for passport office workers in the 1960s.

The homes were factory built and finished on-site with timber frames and asbestos cladding.

But their construction means issues such as poor insultation, noise transfer and heating costs are expensive and difficult to address – giving no option other than to pull the homes down.

Believe has promised to ‘work closely with all affected’.

Support will be provided throughout the process – including compensation and financial support.

The decision to demolish the properties was ‘not an easy one’, executive director of communities and customer services, Nik Turner.

‘While these properties have exceeded their intended lifespan, we understand they are people’s homes, and this is an emotive issue.

‘However, it was clear from the outcome of the consultation that customers also recognise the need for action to address the problems with these properties.

‘All their feedback was carefully considered alongside the extensive improvements that would be needed to bring the homes up to modern standards.

‘These would be disruptive for tenants, difficult to deliver and would represent poor value for money.’

In London, a pregnant mum-of-three revealed her fears for her children’s health over extreme mould in her one-bed flat – forcing her to pay to replace ruined items including toys.

Another mum, Monique Staff, told Metro.co.uk how her mouldy flat caused daily asthma attacks – meaning she had to teach her children how to call 999.

The death of a two-year-old boy who suffered prolonged exposure to mould should be a ‘defining moment’ for the housing sector, a coroner ruled.

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