18 years of damp and not a ‘penny of compensation’ for flooding victim James

James Gosling of Sumatra Road NW6

James Gosling of Sumatra Road NW6 - Credit: Archant

A West Hampstead flooding victim whose bedrooms are still damp 18 years on has slammed Camden Council for leaving him with “not a penny of compensation”.

James Gosling of Sumatra Road shows the damp behind his radiators. Picture: Polly Hancock

James Gosling of Sumatra Road shows the damp behind his radiators. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

James Gosling’s council house in Sumatra Road was hit with floods in 2000 and 2002, submerging his bedrooms in five feet of raw sewage.

He says he’s been forced to sleep in his living area since as his downstairs bedrooms are still damaged.

James told the Ham&High he hadn’t received any formal offer of payback. He said: “I can’t get on with my life until these problems are sorted out. It’s consumed every day of my life and has been hell.”

Camden carried out repairs to the property in 2008 and 2009, claiming in a report the total cost was just £690.

He sought the advice of a private surveyor from RLH developments, who valued the repairs that had been carried out at approximately £22,000.

But James, who has lived there for 21 years, described the work as “shabby”, saying workers had failed to replace the rotten wood on the exterior of the property.

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The work needed included an entire replacement staircase, which Camden claimed in correspondence to Mr Gosling, seen by the Ham&High, cost just £20.

On the scale of the floods, James said: “The water went up to the ceiling, the bed was floating and the television drifted from the bedroom to the bathroom next door.”

The 58-year-old suffers from depression and anxiety, which has worsened from what he says, is the lack of support from the council. Last year he was treated by his doctor in West Hampstead for a severe cough suspected to be linked to the abundance of Aspergillus mould in his home.

Camden Council said: “Mr Gosling’s complaints have been fully and thoroughly investigated over many years. We have informed him and his solicitors there is no basis to his complaints and they are now legally statute barred due to the length of time that has passed.

“Mr Gosling refuses to accept the legal position.

“While we are sympathetic to his problems we are satisfied we have done all that we could to assist him.”