A Croydon father has said his family feels ‘forgotten’ by the council after being left in mouldy temporary accommodation for the last three years.

Musa Turay said he and his family are suffering from chesty coughs due to pervasive mould in his flat in an ageing Croydon tower block.

He says the mould, which is at its most prevalent in the ceiling above his children’s bed, keeps coming back despite him ‘trying everything’ to get rid of it.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), he said: “The water runs down the walls and starts dripping on us when we sleep. I have tried to clean myself but it just keeps coming back.

Your Local Guardian: Cromwell Tower in CroydonCromwell Tower in Croydon

“I have spent so much money on this place, fixing it myself. I have had to put up silver cladding in my room to cover the mould because it was so horrible. I’ve had loads of hats and caps that I have had to throw away because all of them got ruined by the mould.

"The same had happened to the children’s clothes, I’m just fed up with this whole thing.”

Turay, his wife Fatmata and their three children moved into the flat in 2021 from Concord House in Broad Green, Croydon.

However, he felt that their previous accommodation was in much better condition than their current flat.

During a visit to Turay’s address on the top floor of the late 1950s Cromwell House tower block, he told the LDRS how the mould affected his young family’s health.

Turay, himself a long-suffering asthmatic, said this had led to them developing persistent coughs and near-constant use of cough linctus.

Your Local Guardian: Mould in the houseMould in the house

He added: “All you smell is damp. I have to leave the flat to get fresh air. When I go out I will open the window wider to let the smell out but when you lock the window at night you just keep inhaling the damp.

“Our bedroom is so bad, you can smell it when you go through the door. It’s affecting me because I’m already asthmatic and I recently went to the GP.”

Turay, a mobile technician for Virgin Media, felt the council has not been overly responsive to his calls for help.

As his landlord, he believes they should have answered his call to fix the mould issue but so far it has not been forthcoming.

He told the LDRS: “The last time they sent an old man who came in and just painted over the bathroom with a water-based paint, that was the last thing they did. Now everything is coming back and it’s getting damp again.”

Alongside the mould concerns, Turay and his family have also had to fight against a growing mouse infestation that has affected the top floor of the building.

He told the LDRS: “Mice have taken over this place, they’re everywhere. We find droppings everywhere.”

Your Local Guardian: Mice caught in the kitchenMice caught in the kitchen

Turay said the mice and mould issues as symptoms of the building’s general state of disrepair.

According to Turay the lift, which the entire 7th floor relies upon, is also in a constant cycle of disrepair.

He said: “Nearly every week they will fix the lift and nearly every week it will break down again. They come and they don’t bring new parts, they just patch it up.

“When they come and fix it, they come and make some horrible noise. We can hear everything in here, the noise is so bad that you think it would be coming from inside your bedroom.”

His address is supposed to be temporary accommodation but after three years in the cramped flat, he says he feels ‘forgotten’ by the council.

He said: “They push you inside and they forget about you, and they say it’s temporary accommodation but they have had people that have lived here for 15/20 years.”

After moving in during lockdown, the council gave Turay a contact number but he said that whenever he tried to call it he could not get through to anybody.

Turay eventually took to fixing the flat up himself, after feeling like his calls for help weren’t being heard.

Musa’s two sons and daughter, aged 9, 16, and 12, sleep on bunkbeds in a crowded room across the narrow hall from his and Fatmata’s bedroom.

He told the LDRS how the cramped conditions and mouldy walls are creating an ‘uncomfortable’ environment for his young family.

He told the LDRS: “My daughter is 12 going 13 and she is just starting to go through her menstrual period.

"It’s so uncomfortable for her to get changed in there, sometimes I come out and let her get changed in my room.

“The kids do everything in here, that’s why they are always fighting. There’s no room for them to move, it’s so overcrowded with every one of us breathing.”

When asked what he would like to see change, Turay said he was grateful for the accommodation, but said his family shouldn’t be living in these conditions.

He said: “The two boys can stay in one room, that’s fine, but my daughter needs her own room at this age.”

Waddon Councillors Rowenna Davis and Ellily Ponnuthurai have recently been working with Turay and his family to resolve the issues.

They said the council has been reviewing Cromwell House for some time and has recently carried out some inspections and repairs.

However, residents like Turay feel the response has not been adequate. Davis and Ponnuthurai told the LDRS: “What we’ve seen at Cromwell House is gut-wrenching.

“Children sleeping under black mould, broken lifts, overcrowding and pipes gushing with leaks.

"After our urgent reports, the council did take action, with over 40 flats inspections, a roof leak repaired and some work on damp and mould.

“But residents say they’re still experiencing dire conditions, and we are still waiting to hear the outcome of major structural surveys of the block as a whole.

"The urgency remains; we will keep fighting until residents have reassurance that they have the safe and decent homes they deserve.”

A Croydon Council spokesperson said: “As a council, we have been taking steps to change our housing service.

"Along with other London councils, we are facing increased demands for affordable accommodation which unfortunately means that there aren’t always permanent homes available for families as soon as we’d like.

“We have been engaging with our resident and have visited the property to treat mould. We will return to the property to improve the ventilation and airflow around the property and investigate for pests. Our temporary accommodation team will also be speaking with the household to explore housing options.”