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Cosy new home is boost for Terry

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

A DISABLED Ipswich dad who hit the headlines after he had to endure cold winters living in a condemned extension has now settled into a newly- adapted council home.

A DISABLED Ipswich dad who hit the headlines after he had to endure cold winters living in a condemned extension has now settled into a newly- adapted council home.

Terry Gratton, 44, has osteo-arthritis, asthma and angina and uses a wheelchair to get about.

The dad of two was featured in The Evening Star when housing problems arose after a house swap.

The extension he used as a bedroom in Mallard Way wasn't approved by the council and had to be pulled down. It had unsafe electrics, a leaking roof and the heating didn't work.

Just a few months after the article appeared in the Star, the wheels were set in motion to find something better.

Now, two years down the track, the family has moved into a specially adapted three-

bedroom bungalow in Linnet Road. Mr Gratton even had a hand in the planning and design.

His wife Charlene, 28, mum of Jazz, 11 and six-year-old Tara, thanked the council and the Star for highlighting their plight and said: "The bungalow we live in now is like a dream come true.

"Before, my husband had to sleep in the extension because he couldn't make the stairs and there was suspected asbestos in the roof.

"He couldn't have a bath and could only have strip washes in the downstairs loo, but there was only a cold water tap in there.

"We lived like that for about two years. We were under a lot of stress and pressure in the old house. My husband's health problems built up, but this is just brilliant. It has really changed our lives. I think the article in the Star really did help."

The former two-bedroom bungalow was extended to include another bedroom and it was adapted for Mr Gratton's disability. It has wider doorways so he can have access to all rooms, a shower for him and a kitchen with special units.

"I know there are lots of people who are in the same position as us, but you have just got to keep battling," said Mrs Gratton.

Mr Gratton and his family moved to Mallard Way as part of a house swap with their bungalow in Lapwing Road.

He said at the time: "The council inspected the house and said it was fine for us to move in, but then we had a problem with the plumbing and the chap from the council said the extension wasn't built properly.

"It turns out it wasn't authorised or approved by the council and they said it would have to come down."

Karen Loweman, tenancy service manager for Ipswich Borough Council homes, said: "We are just pleased to have finally got Mr Gratton settled."

She added it took time to first find a bungalow, get planning permission for the extension and invite contractors to tender before work was carried out.

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