Home revamp a nightmare, claims dad

UNHAPPY CUSTOMER ... Lee Cunningham in his Jarrow home.

UNHAPPY CUSTOMER ... Lee Cunningham in his Jarrow home.

A MAN says renovation work at his home has turned into a nightmare for his family.

Lee Cunningham, 30, moved his two children out of their house in Prince Consort Road, Jarrow, for five days after being alerted to the possible presence of asbestos in the property.

Their exit was also prompted by the “atrocious mess” he claims was left by contractors working for South Tyneside Homes.

One of the workers even swore at his partner, he says.

Mr Cunningham lives at the house with his girlfriend, Kirsty Screaton, and children Jake, three, and 18-month-old Maddie-Lee.

Work started at the house on Monday, but South Tyneside Council had to put the family up at the Quality Hotel at Boldon Business Park for a night after a worker discovered what was thought to be asbestos.

But Mr Cunningham, a sheet metal worker, also accuses the contractors involved of swearing at his girlfriend as they attempted to put in a new heating system and bathroom.

He said: “It has been manic. They sent the plumbers, but they hadn’t surveyed the property, and they said there was asbestos there.

“They eventually found a very minute amount of something, but people’s lives had been put at risk by them not carrying out proper risk assessments.

“If they knew there was a possibility asbestos was there, someone should have taken samples before any other workers arrived.”

He added: “One of the managers was also effing and blinding at my girlfriend, and you just expect so much better.” Mr Cunningham decided to keep his family out of the house after their hotel stay, and they spent the next four nights at Miss Screaton’s mother’s home while a new heating system and bathroom were installed.

His other daughter, Ella May Atkins, five, stays at the Prince Consort Road house at weekends.

Mr Cunningham added: “The mess outside was atrocious, dangerous even. I went upstairs one day, and there was a bloke having a tea break in my bedroom, which just isn’t on.

“Something needs to be done as they can’t just go in and do this to people’s homes.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: “Last week, a full heating replacement procedure was carried out on Mr Cunningham’s property and, as part of a safety precaution, the work had to be temporarily put on hold while tests were carried out on materials in the roof space.

“In the interests of the family and their welfare, we housed them in a hotel until the test results returned.

“The material was found to be cement-based, and the work has now restarted.

“The heating system is complete, with all of the other building work set to be finished by the end of this week.

“The property is habitable, and the programme will continue until the work is complete.

“An investigation is under way into the allegations made against the contractor by the tenant, and the matter is being addressed.”

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