cause of damp upstairs chimney breast

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Chimney damp can be tricky .
First thing I'd do is fix the cracking chimney head, seal the hood top cowl to the pot as it should be . Adjust the course of tiles behind the chimney , they are too close and holding moss.
While there check back gutter size and detailing .
And fwiw , there would not be soakers and no need for them in this case.
But they could have been used if you were that way inclined ..
saltfish - OP,
Last week you said you would "really appreciate advice" from the forum - you were given advice by various members, & asked to do a few simple tasks to help yourself save money but since Friday we've heard nothing from you?

Whatever, the "new flaunching" pic shows, I suspect, merely a skimming (with what?) over of the older, damaged material - ie. the old failed flaunching was not removed?
There's still no drip projections from the flaunching edges.
BTW: you dont have a chimney pot - you have a cowl.
Was/is the gas fire connected to a SS flue liner?

The concrete tiles are easy to remove - just push them up, say, 50mm & then lift them out.
The idea is to find the cause of water damage and then fix it.
Even though it might work as an emergency measure, clambering up and down from a loft carrying waste water is not a solution.
Neither will the warmth of fire fumes dry out the wet bricks or solve the leak.
Given that you presumably still have the leak then why not open a new thread dealing with your circumstances?

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