Watch: Fuming Chesterfield householder dumps rubble inside council office

This video footage shows the moment a fuming social housing tenant dumps rubble from a collapsed wall at his home at Chesterfield Borough Council offices.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 1:03 pm

Matt Lee, 40, says he took the drastic step after complaining to the authority about his crumbling Staveley home for seven years - with no resolution in sight.

In the video irate Matt - after hauling the sack of bricks into the council’s Stonegravels office - also empties a carrier bag of coal onto a worker’s desk.

As he leaves Matt says “I’ve got several tonne of this in the back garden”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Seething Matt unloads the unwanted coal

Dad-of-thee Matt claims since the family moved into their Frecheville Street terraced council house in 2014 they have spent “seven years” trying to clear the unwanted coke.

Matt believes it was “dumped” in the garden by the council when they removed a coal bunker before he moved in.

The “one metre square” pile of rubble left with the council was collected after it collapsed onto the floor of his daughter’s bedroom when he tried to rub down a wall before attempting to replaster it himself.

The DIY repair job came after Matt was forced to remove an old boiler cupboard to make more room for his daughter in her “tiny” box room - a job he claims the council refused to undertake and told him to “do it yourself”.

A huge waste bag of coal collected in the garden

Speaking about the collapse Matt said: “It could have collapsed on my daughter at any time.

“We’ve had eight inspectors out in seven years to this house - but all they’ve done is remedial work and hidden serious issues.”

Matt says his daughter’s room is not the only danger spot in the house.

Other worrying issues include rendering which is coming away from walls, evidence of plaster having been applied to wallpaper creating a fire hazard and most worryingly, subsidence.

Rendering is shown here coming away from brickwork inside the house

Read More

Read More
‘It’s horrendous’: Chesterfield family’s concerns about ‘terrible’ council house

He said: “We don’t dare touch the walls to decorate - we live in fear of them collapsing.

“The room my two youngest daughters (aged 13 and 14) share isn’t safe and my from what I’ve already seen is that all of the walls are in the same condition.”

Matt says when he moved into the property in 2014 rendering around the living room fireplace collapsed as he started decorating - leaving rubble on the floor.

This photo shows the black mortar in-between brickwork crumbled into dust

However a visiting inspector missed a metre-long crack in the chimney breast which Matt says was caused as “black mortar” came out of its brickwork.

The mortar was popular in the 1930s and was made using added coal dust which is infamous for not bonding well with cement - making it unstable.

Former IT engineer Matt fears the same material has been used on all five terraces adjoining each other - of which his home is one.

He said: “I think these properties are subsiding and if there was even the slightest earthquake in the area these walls would be gone.”

Matt, diagnosed with autism, says his poor living environment is damaging his mental health and after saying “enough is enough” has lodged an official complaint with the courts under the Environmental Health Act.

He said: “I want people in Chesterfield to realise they can't do this to us anymore - the council has a duty to make homes habitable.”

A spokesperson for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “The council is aware of Mr Lee’s allegations about the condition of the property and these are being handled by the council’s appointed solicitors under the appropriate legal processes for housing disrepair claims.

"The property has been inspected by an independent surveyor and their conclusions will be relevant to how the council responds to the claim.

"We have not heard from the court about an environmental health action.

"As the matter is subject to legal processes it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor: Support your Derbyshire Times by becoming a digital subscriber. You will see 70 per cent fewer ads on stories, meaning faster load times and an overall enhanced user experience. Click here to subscribe