‘Coun­cil was wait­ing for great gran to die’

House had al­ready been given to an­other fam­ily

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A GRIEV­ING fam­ily claim Hilling­don Coun­cil was ‘wait­ing for their grand­mother to die’ to re­claim her coun­cil home.

G re at - g ra n d m o t h e r Au­drey Lee­son died, aged 88, on Mon­day Fe­bru­ary 1. She had lived in the home she shared with her hus­band and chil­dren at Heather Lane, West Dray­ton, for more than six decades.

Mrs Lee­son had in­her­ited the ten­ancy from her hus­band, Ray­mond, when he died in 2006.

Her grand­daugh­ter, Natalie Puckett, who has three young chil­dren, hoped to take on the ten­ancy as she has been on the coun­cil hous­ing wait­ing list for nearly 10 years.

But her grand­son Gre­gory Pig­gott, 42, said he was dis­gusted to learn from the coun­cil’s hous­ing depart­ment that the prop­erty had al­ready been given to an­other fam­ily wait­ing for Mrs Lee­son’s death.

He said: “It is dif­fi­cult to put into words how strongly we as a fam­ily feel about this prop­erty. Just en­ter­ing the house made you feel safe and at home re­gard­less of where you lived or how long you had been away for.

“Our fam­i­lies have given so much to the coun­try, hav­ing served in the Armed Forces.

“I have served as a Metropoli­tan Po­lice of­fi­cer and now work for the Home Of­fice. We are ask­ing for just one thing in re­turn.”

Mr Pig­gott said the fam­ily was told by a hous­ing of­fi­cer that ‘it’s too late now any­way as the house was marked for dis­posal wait­ing for Mrs Lee­son to die!’.

He added: “It’s dis­gust­ing. They’re sup­posed to be a lo­cal au­thor­ity and this is how they’re speak­ing to peo­ple who have just lost their mum and grand­mother.”

Ray­mond Lee­son, who fought in the Se­cond World War with the 2/7th Bat­tal­ion Mid­dle­sex Reg­i­ment, and wife Au­drey were of­fered the coun­cil house in 1949, when the first bricks were be­ing laid, and moved in as soon as it was built two years later.

A spokesper­son for Hilling­don Coun­cil said: “The ten­ancy for this prop­erty was in Mr Lee­son’s name and when he died his wife suc­ceeded to the ten­ancy.

“The Hous­ing Act 1985 states a ten­ancy can only be suc­ceeded to once so we are un­able to au­to­mat­i­cally pass it to Mrs Lee­son’s grand­daugh­ter.

“The needs of ev­ery­one on our hous­ing list are con­sid­ered on a case by case ba­sis and this home will be let to a fam­ily in need in ac­cor­dance with the coun­cil’s so­cial hous­ing al­lo­ca­tion pol­icy.”

But Mr Pig­gott, who also lives in West Dray­ton so he could be close to his grand­mother, thinks the coun­cil has ig­nored the fam­i­lies’ plea and not taken into ac­count their cir­cum­stances.

The fam­ily are now press­ing Hilling­don Coun­cil for a writ­ten re­sponse and have writ­ten to MP Boris John­son.

n FAM­ILY HOME: (Back from left) James Puckett, Matthew Lee­son, Kather­ine Pig­gott, Natalie Puckett, Tony Pig­gott, Gre­gory Pig­gott; (from left) Daisy Puckett, Chloe Pig­gott, Dy­lan Puckett and Leo Puckett; (below) Au­drey Lee­son and Ray­mond

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