Back garden ironing business drives neighbour from her home

Jenny Roberts said living with the pungent fumes was impossible - but the council refused to help

A woman claims she has been driven out of her home by the putrid fumes wafting from her neighbour’s back garden ironing business.

Jenny Roberts has lived in College Road, Wembley for 24 years and in 2003 new neighbours moved in who built a cabin at the end of their lawn out of which they run Viola ironing services.

Ms Roberts says she does not object in principle to the business, but that the cleaning fluids used there contains sulphuric acid and other harmful substances which create pungent fume which she fears are toxic.

She has repeatedly complained to Brent Council’s environmental health team, but claims they have refused to intervene.

She said: “They have been using acid drain cleaner and the fumes have been getting into my house.

“The fumes make me feel sick and dizzy. I wake up in the morning and my eyes are stuck together. I don’t sleep with my windows open anymore.

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It got so bad that I had to move out. I want to rent the house now, but I don’t want to poison anyone.

“It is revolting but I can’t persuade anyone at Brent Council to take me seriously.”

Ms Roberts claims that the fumes cause a thick acrid smell which brings on her coughing fits. The situation became so bad that she moved out of the house. She now wants to rent the terrace house out, but fears the fumes could endanger her tenants.

A council spokesman said: “We have fully investigated complaints made by Ms Roberts. Our planning service has found that, to date, the level of activity is not such that planning permission is required.

“Environmental health officers visited the property many times with the full cooperation of the owners and found no evidence of non-household chemicals.

“We have investigated how the departments handled Ms Roberts’ complaints and are satisfied they were given proper attention.”

A spokeswoman for Viola ironing services accused Ms Roberts of harassing their business. She said: “We think her complaints are totally unreasonable. Just because there is a bad smell in her house doesn’t mean it is toxic.”