Residents paying £122 a week to live in 'disgusting' conditions at retirement home in Oldham

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Damage to the interior at St Margaret's Gardens Credit: MEN Media

''It's disgraceful really because we're all vulnerable in one way or another.''

Says Julie Baker, as she surveys the conditions at St Margaret's Gardens, a retirement home for people aged 55 and over in Hollinwood, Oldham.

She has lived there for almost 10 years. But she says her mother is now so embarrassed at the state of the buildings she is refusing to visit.

Riverside, the housing association which runs St Margaret's Gardens, has apologised to the residents, who pay £122 a week to live there.

Some of the cracked plaster at St Margaret's Gardens Credit: MEN Media

Yet, the building has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair with cracked plaster on the walls, exposed wires, holes in the roof, leaks and reports of pests.

Julie said: "The outside of my flat is disgusting and they've told me they want to come in and dig the kitchen floor up, while I'm still in there, because they say there's a pipe underneath that's cracked.

Julie Baker has lived at St Margaret's Gardens for 10 years Credit: MEN Media

"We have a cleaner that we pay for but they weren't even here half an hour today and I still have to mop the floor myself in laundry room."My mum hasn't come to visit since I've been here because she's embarrassed of the place."

The cost of cleaning is included in a 'service charge' paid by the residents, which also includes usage of the lift.Another resident, Phil, said: "We just want somewhere nice to live.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named and who has lived in the building for nine years, said he had reported a mice infestation multiple times but claimed it has not been resolved.

He said: "I've still got them now, I can feel them at night. They tell me I'm leaving food about but all my food is in plastic containers in the fridge or freezer."It's the 21st century, it shouldn't be like this."

Wallpaper peeling off the wall in one of the flats Credit: MEN Media

Riverside has apologised and promised to carry out full inspections of every flat in the building.

Joanne Scarlett, Riverside’s head of asset strategy and delivery, blamed a roof leak for some of the problems the residents have faced.She said: "We apologise unreservedly to our retirement living customers at St Margaret’s Gardens in Oldham."We take all complaints extremely seriously and our team are speaking to customers to discuss progress in resolving the issues they’ve experienced and how we can come to a speedy resolution."We will also carry out a full inspection of each individual apartment over the coming days and weeks. The root of the problem is a leak in a glass roof in the reception area."We have also been renewing guttering for this roof, where drainage had been blocked and water was backing up, causing a range of issues which have affected customers’ properties.

"We are also aware that customers have reported a pest control issue and have organised for a specialist contractor to urgently tackle the problem."We’ve faced a range of challenges in trying to resolve these issues, nevertheless, we acknowledge that on this occasion, we’ve fallen below the standards our customers deserve."