Woman is­sues plea for big­ger prop­erty to live in

Fam­ily of nine liv­ing in coun­cil house suit­able for six

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE - TOM MACK

A WOMAN car­ing for seven chil­dren af­ter her sis­ter died sud­denly is des­per­ate for a big­ger house.

For nearly a year there have been nine mem­bers of the fam­ily liv­ing in Donna Back­house’s Birstall home, which is only suit­able for six.

Donna’s sis­ter, Me­lanie, was 41 when she died sud­denly at home in early Novem­ber last year and Me­lanie’s chil­dren, Mol­lie, seven and Billy, 11, moved in with Donna and her hus­band, Ja­son.

She said: “We have two girls in one small room where one has to climb over the other one’s bed to reach hers. Then, in an­other room there are three boys, in­clud­ing my 11-year-old nephew who is autis­tic and is re­ally strug­gling with that.

“The house has four be­d­rooms but it’s very small and very crowded.

“I’ve been in touch with the coun­cil, MPs and char­i­ties and noth­ing is hap­pen­ing.”

Donna, 37, and her fam­ily are on Charn­wood Bor­ough Coun­cil’s wait­ing list for a larger house but so far noth­ing suit­able has be­come avail­able, with the coun­cil only hav­ing five homes with more than four be­d­rooms and none of them avail­able.

A fur­ther lim­i­ta­tion is that Donna is des­per­ate to stay in Birstall, rather than caus­ing any more trauma to Me­lanie’s chil­dren, who were in the house when their mother died.

Donna said: “It’s been nearly a year since Me­lanie died and she was found dead in her home with her chil­dren present. She hadn’t been eat­ing much and we think that led to her death.

“I want to stay in Birstall for the sake of my son, who’s do­ing his GCSEs, and for Me­lanie’s chil­dren who have al­ready been through a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence and don’t need more up­heaval.”

Donna is strug­gling to un­der­stand why no one has been able to help her fam­ily. She said: “I work in the lo­cal shop and peo­ple are al­ways telling me they can’t be­lieve we don’t have a big­ger house yet.

“I asked the coun­cil why they couldn’t knock two to­gether if they don’t have any big ones. There are lots in the vil­lage that are un­der-oc­cu­pied and have two or three be­d­rooms that aren’t be­ing used.

“The coun­cil keeps ask­ing me to make bids on houses with three and four be­d­rooms but they won’t be big enough.”

A Charn­wood Bor­ough Coun­cil spokesman said: “We sym­pa­thise with Miss Back­house’s cir­cum­stances. “How­ever, due to very high de­mand and the lim­ited num­ber of prop­er­ties the coun­cil owns, it is not al­ways pos­si­ble to match ten­ants with the homes they want. “The coun­cil has about 5,500 prop­er­ties but only five which have ei­ther five or six be­d­rooms. They are oc­cu­pied and we do not ex­pect them to be avail­able in the near fu­ture. “We can­not evict peo­ple for un­der-oc­cu­pancy but we do of­fer in­cen­tives for peo­ple to down­size if ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Miss Back­house is in the pri­or­ity band and we have ad­vised con­sid­er­ing bid­ding on three or four bed­room prop­er­ties which may be larger than her cur­rent prop­erty or have other rooms that may be us­able as a bed­room.

“We are do­ing all we can to sup­port Miss Back­house but ul­ti­mately we do not have an end­less sup­ply of prop­er­ties and larger fam­ily homes are al­ways in high de­mand.

“We will con­tinue to of­fer sup­port to Miss Back­house.”

Billy Sharpe, 11, Donna Back­house, 37, Mol­lie Sharpe, 7, Fal­lon Back­house, 10, Tyler Back­house, 15, Cyrus Back­house, 5, Kieren Back­house, 16, Ashby Back­house, 7.

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