COSTS to sort out damp in Newport City Homes properties, allegedly caused by problems with the walls, have hit £670,000

The housing association, which took over all the city’s council houses in 2009, said the worst hit area is Somerton in the east of Newport where 207 homes built in the mid 1930s have been affected. One resident suffered so badly with the problem that they had to move out of their house while repairs took place.

A further 37 homes are affected outside of Somerton.

Workers installed cavity wall insulation before Newport City Homes took the houses over, but a spokesman for the housing association said the homes were built with narrower wall cavities than those set by current construction standards.

The spokesman said: “A number of Newport City Homes residents reported experiencing damp in their homes, which we investigated and found the cause to be cavity wall failure. To remedy these issues we took the decision to remove all cavity fill and other cavity debris within this particular house type.

“Costs for the removal of cavity wall fill insulation is circa £670,000 which has been funded from Newport City Homes budgets.

“Every home has different needs and in some circumstances, and due to the intrusive nature of works, and the personal circumstances of individual residents, we have provided alternative accommodation to meet those needs while works were carried out.”

Janet Rowlands, aged 58, lives on Libeneth Road in Somerton. She said: “Newport City Homes have just finished extracting from almost every council house on the estate. A lot of the houses are drying out.”

But she said she now owned hers under the Right to Buy scheme and so had responsibility for her own walls even though insulation was put in while it was still a council house.

“I have got damp in patches. It started in the hallway,” she said. “The walls are damp, all down the stairs and the top of my landing. There’s damp in the living room as well.”

Barbara Taylor, aged 51, also lives on Libeneth Road with her son and her partner in an ex-council house.

She said: “We have all got the same problem. They were the same houses, built at the same time.

“I have got damp by my front door, in my living room which had just been decorated. I had it redecorated twice - it has been a nightmare.

She said Newport City Homes had carried out work all down the road, with skips next to the road to remove the insulation and debris in the walls.

Gerry Miller, chief executive of the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, said problems with insulation were rare. He added: "CIGA exists to protect consumers who have cavity insulation installed in their homes. Our 25-year guarantee covers defects relating to workmanship or materials, so if something goes wrong and a home is covered, we will work with the installer to put things right at no cost to the consumer.

"Anyone who does experience a problem with their cavity insulation should get in touch with CIGA on and we will be happy to investigate.”

Malpas woman Pauline Saunders hit the headlines after she went to parliament to make it easier for people suffering with damp after cavity wall insulation to get redress. She has now set up the Cavity Wall Insulation Victims Alliance. Email for more information.