Free launderette opens to help north London estate tackle mould and damp

Andover Estate’s laundrette is open three days a week with bookable slots (Keith Emmitt)

A free community launderette has opened on a large housing estate in north London to help combat its mould and damp.

The new facility has been installed on the Andover Estate in Holloway, one of the largest estates in Islington, where some residents have problems with damp and mould.

In addition to undertaking works to improve the buildings’ ventilation, Islington Council said the launderette will allow residents to wash and dry clothes outside their homes.

According to the local authority, the initiative will help reduce tenants’ bills as well as the condensation and moisture that can “build up in homes and lead to mould growth and other problems”.

According to Cllr Una O’Halloran, Islington ‘s executive member for homes and communities, the launderette is being well-used.

She said: “This new launderette for residents of the Andover Estate provides a much-needed service for people who may not have outside space to hang washing out or access to a tumble dryer, or who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

“All our stock was built differently and unfortunately some flats do have damp and mould. We’re doing capital works on the Andover too, but this washing space is a real positive.”

Cllr O’Halloran also said overcrowding was a “big issue” on the estate, meaning and there was a lack of space for families to dry their clothes. “The launderette is helping and also is a social thing, a way for people to meet up,” she said.

The initiative comes six months after a housing watchdog opened an investigation into Islington Council following “repeated failings” on damp and mould.

The local authority has since apologised and laid out a five point action plan for how it intends to tackle the issue across its housing stock.

It is investing another £1million every year for a new damp and mould action team to improve ventilation and insulation in homes.

Other measures include training non-specialist staff who might visit homes, such as workers who carry out gas compliance checks, to spot damp and mould, as well as staffing a dedicated line for calls from concerned tenants.

Damp and mould in rented properties has recently received national attention, after a coroner ruled that two-year-old Awaab Ishak died of a respiratory condition caused by mould in a Rochdale flat.

The launderette is a pilot scheme, that will be reviewed and may later be rolled out to other estates.

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