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Evicted artist sleeping on the streets after her Isle of Dogs home is declared unfit to live in

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 November 2020 | UPDATED: 20:47 12 November 2020

Kay Cargill's first-floor home... riddled with damp. Picture: Google

Kay Cargill's first-floor home... riddled with damp. Picture: Google

Google

A ceramics artist has been evicted from temporary shelter after her home on the Isle of Dogs became uninhabitable after eight years of damp.

St Hubert’s House in Millwall, 1930s block that was being refurbished in 2012. Picture: GoogleSt Hubert’s House in Millwall, 1930s block that was being refurbished in 2012. Picture: Google

Kay Cargill now wanders the streets homeless after a long battle with Gateway Housing Association to get repairs done to her first-floor flat at St Hubert’s House in Millwall, a 1930s block that was being refurbished in 2012.

She had been put up by the housing association at Marlin apartments in Canary Wharf since January while her flat was supposed to be repaired from dampness caused by lack of ventilation she says began after her old kitchen and bathroom were refurbished.

But the repairs were never started, she says, and now Kay has had to leave the temporary place after 10 months while her home has technically been condemned as unfit to live in.

“I am wandering the streets trying to sort everything out,” Kay told the East London Advertiser. “All my things became contaminated with mould and couldn’t be stored. I had to leave with just the clothes on my back.”

Gateway Housing Associartion's eight-year-long dispute with Kay over her damp flat. Picture: GoogleGateway Housing Associartion's eight-year-long dispute with Kay over her damp flat. Picture: Google

Kay discovered there were no air vents after the 2012 refurbishment and the place gradually turned damp. She was finally given a temporary serviced apartment in January within walking distance while her flat was to be repaired.

But she got a shock on October 16 being told she would be evicted, then bailiffs turning up on November 10.

Gateway has been paying her a monthly allowance for the disruption for several months, which they stopped last week.

It said in a statement to the Advertiser: “Ms Cargill failed to provide access so that we can complete the work. She refuses to speak with us.

“Given her refusal to allow us entry, we explained that this arrangement would end unless access was provided. As a result, we are sadly left with no alternative but legal action.”

Kay denies refusing Gateway access, however, accusing them instead of blaming “coronavirus” for not carrying out the work.

She insists: “That’s their excuse. Before it was ‘no electrics’ which had been cut off, now its ‘coronavirus’.

“I have recorded about 200 visits they made to the property, so it’s not true that I’ve denied them access. I’ve kept a record of everything.”

The dampness issue was taken up in 2018 by Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Wood who represents Millwall and Canary Wharf at the town hall, but says the council received no response from Gateway at the time.

He told the paper this week: “There’s no reason why the venting can’t be repaired. It should have been fixed so she could get her home back.”

But there is a ray of hope for Kay with a last-minute offer from Gateway, thanks to the Advertiser’s inquiry.

Gateway promised us: “We really want to work with Ms Cargill, if she can contact us to allow access to assess and carry out the repairs. Then she can return home as soon as this is completed.”

Meanwhile, Kay is rough sleeping, unable to use the home she’s had for a decade which has now been declared “unfit for human habitation”. To add to her troubles, this artist and designer has had to put her career on hold.


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