Family of eight facing homelessness as council set to demolish house

A family of eight could be made homeless imminently after the council look set to demolish their three-bedroom home.

Michelle and Matthew Love-Bicknell, who have lived in their house for almost six years with their six children, have revealed they’re being evicted after their landlord was forced to sell the property due to area regeneration proposals.

The family, who’s children are aged from eight to 15-years-old, say they have nowhere to go and the council are struggling to help them find a new home.

A significant shortage of three and four-bed council houses in the local area have caused the family to believe they could be made homeless.

Michelle said her family is not able to begin bidding on properties until 56 days before her eviction notice runs out on December 12

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Michelle, 35, is currently out of work due to a health condition and despite husband Matthew’s income from his work supplying parts to JLR, the pair said they can’t afford to continue renting privately.

They have been living in their current three-bed property in Kinghurst, Solihull, for almost six years but are now in cramped conditions due to their growing family.

“Do you know expensive it is to private rent now?” Michelle said. “A four-bed house to private rent is between £1,200 and £1,500.

“We should be entitled to a house if the council are knocking these ones down. Everyone else is and I don’t understand why we aren’t either.

“We have already been a bedroom short for five years.”

The long-awaited regeneration of Kingshurst will see millions invested to develop the town centre, according to BirminghamLive.

The work looks set to get underway in December but the project has been delayed over the years. The target date for completing the new village centre remains winter 2025/26.

A spokesperson for Solihull Community Housing, which runs housing services for Solihull Council, said the regeneration programme would create “modern new homes, shops and a space for families to enjoy”.

But they admitted that as a result, a “very small number” of families stand to lose their homes. The spokesperson added the availability of four and five-bed properties in the borough was “extremely limited”.

Michelle and Matthew, 36, shared their story after a young mum of two also told how she was facing homelessness due to the development.

Their family are the only ones left on the row of houses in the Solihull area, with the rest bordered up.

Michelle said the street had been plagued by bored youths setting fires as other residents moved out.

“My whole road has been boarded up,” she added. “I’ve got six kids here with me and my partner. The council are just not telling us anything to be honest.

“We’re the last one that hasn’t got signs outside. They have been broken into by kids who have tried to set them on fire.”

At present, the council sees the family as adequately housed. Michelle said she is not able to begin bidding on properties until 56 days before her eviction notice runs out on December 12.

But with the “extreme” shortage of suitable houses, the family fear 56 days is not enough and they could be left with nowhere to go this Christmas.

Husband Matthew said it felt like they were being treated differently to others who, he claimed, had received money from the council.

“We’re not getting the help we need,” he added. “From day one they promised that even if you were a private rented tenant we would help you.

“They have gone back on everything they said they would do for a private tenant. It’s not fair. We were supposed to be treated exactly the same as council tenants.

“They want us to move out and just go. What do I do with six kids and a disabled wife?

“The council are taking us out of our house where we have been for five and a half years so the council should house us.”

Family of eight facing homelessness as council set to demolish house
Regeneration plans mean several homes in the area are due to be demolished

A spokesperson for Solihull Community Housing said: “The Kingshurst Regeneration programme is an exciting new phase in the area’s history, creating modern new homes, shops and a space for families to enjoy.

“As a result of the development a very small number of families currently in private rented accommodation do sadly stand to lose their homes.

“We understand that moving home can be a difficult time, and as such we have dedicated officers to work with affected families. Officers will discuss a range of housing options on a case by case basis to help families find suitable alternative accommodation.

“The challenge is greater with larger-sized families as the availability of four or five-bed properties is extremely limited. We are though working closely with those affected to support them in finding alternative accommodation that will meet their needs.

“We have made those families in private rented accommodation aware that they are eligible for up to £2,000 support with rent in advance and deposit if they move to another private rented property.”

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