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Woman kicks up stink over poor council house plumbing that causes ‘overbearing’ smell of sewage

PUBLISHED: 12:08 13 December 2018

Felicia Montouth lives next door to ChrisKitch in Tetherdown. She has been given the sort of vent on her toilet that would normally be fitted externally meaning the smells from the drains and the sewer feed back into her flat. Picture: Polly Hancock

Felicia Montouth lives next door to ChrisKitch in Tetherdown. She has been given the sort of vent on her toilet that would normally be fitted externally meaning the smells from the drains and the sewer feed back into her flat. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A Muswell Hill mum is at her wits’ end over an overwhelming smell of sewage in her council house because of badly done plumbing.

Felicia Montouth holding the paperwork she has sent to and received from Haringey Council over the stinky vent. Picture: Polly HancockFelicia Montouth holding the paperwork she has sent to and received from Haringey Council over the stinky vent. Picture: Polly Hancock

Felicia Montouth has lived in Tetherdown since 2004, next to the fashionable ChrisKitch restaurant.

The eatery, run by chef Chris Honor, has been in a converted council garage since 2015. An independent report in 2016 said the smell is down to a drain and vent in her bathroom, which brings out waste water from the restaurant next door and the vent which airs the system.

The mum-of-four said: “It was horrendous, and the stench is really bad and overbearing.”

According to Felicia, who works as an administrator at the Whittington Hospital, it has had a debilitating effect on the lives of her and her two children, who live at home.

Felicia Montouth lives next door to ChrisKitch in Muswell Hill. Picture: Polly HancockFelicia Montouth lives next door to ChrisKitch in Muswell Hill. Picture: Polly Hancock

“We can’t entertain, I can’t invite anybody around and neither can my children. We have no quality of life.”

In 2016, Felicia commissioned an independent environmental health inspector, Martin Turner, to assess the situation.

Mr Turner’s report said the cause of the smell was “the condition of the draining system serving the property,” and it could prove a “statutory nuisance, including likely to cause injury to health.”

He said the problem appeared to be caused by the lack of an external vent-pipe for air to get into the system. Other houses in the street have this. Instead, the internal vent appears to have been installed in her bathroom.

Mr Turner described having the vent installed inside as “unusual.” The drain and vent also carries waste water from ChrisKitch next door. The report has been sent to the council.

When Felicia reported the problem to Haringey Council, she said its housing arm, Homes for Haringey, took no action.

“I feel like they’ve just ignored me. I have tried everything, including paying nearly £1000 on the report. They just don’t want to seem obliged to do the work.”

A Homes for Haringey spokesperson said when a worker visited in November 2015 “they could not identify any kind of odour nuisance so no action was taken.” It also said that Felicia hadn’t been in touch over the matter since 2015, despite a caseworker from Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West’s office saying she had written to the council about the matter.

When a Ham&High photographer visited the house she also noted the strong smell.

“I just want it rectifying,” said Felicia. “I would have left years ago if I could have, but I can’t. I want to leave in peace.”

A Haringey spokesperson said this week the council had been in touch with Felicia about repairs and her concerns were being investigated.

“We have an appointment to attend the property and will take appropriate action if there are any issues,” he added.

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