A decade long ordeal – The former mining town plagued by mould

by Tomos Rogers & Iona Brunker

Since 2013 people in the former mining town of Caerau in the Llynfi Valley have lived in houses riddled with damp and mould.

25 households signed up to the Welsh government’s Arbed scheme and a further 79 signed up through the UK government’s Community Energy Saving Programme to make their homes more energy efficient.

But poor building work has led to damp throughout their houses, creating both physical and mental pain.

Our house have been gutted to a shell and redone all new walls, all new plasters, all new ceilings, all new electric. And now my house is soaking.

Marion Hobbs, Caerau Resident
Hat owned by a Caerau resident covered in mould.

Last November the Welsh Government announced more than two and a half million pounds of funding to address failed wall insulation works at a hundred and four homes.

In a letter to residents earlier this month Bridgend County Borough Council also announced that three jobs would be created to help manage the repairs including a community liaison post to work directly with residents.

But the people of Caerau say that should be someone affected by the poor work.

They really need somebody from this community who knows what’s going on and to be a person that is in the middle of that really like, you know, that will be able to speak to the residents, to the council”

Rhiannon Goodall

Bridgend Council say they take responsibility for the 25 homes under the Welsh Government’s Arbed scheme but not those that were a part of the UK Government’s CES programme. The residents dispute this and say they have evidence to the contrary.

An independent town councillor in Caerau says the people in the area feel underrepresented.

They are just under a cloud, continuously under a cloud of the house that they’ve bought. They’ve worked hard for a lot of them are former miners from this area, and they feel let down by the local authority which they’ve paid into

Matthew Rowlands, Caerau town councillor

Despite the efforts to fix these homes, like their walls the relationship between the people of Caerau and Bridgend Council is permanently damaged.

The residents are now writing a joint letter to Bridgend County Borough Council and the Welsh Government to find out when their houses will finally be repaired.