OAP's plea over homes register

A DISABLED pensioner who has been out of her flat only once in three years today called for a radical overhaul of the way properties are let.

A DISABLED pensioner who has been out of her flat only once in three years today called for a radical overhaul of the way properties are let.

Ipswich woman Jacqueline Schwitzke has to use a wheelchair due to her suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

She has hardly been out of her London Road home since losing the use of her legs because she can not manage the steps which lead from her front door.

Despite anxiously waiting on the borough council housing register for years, an adapted bungalow has yet to emerge.

However, Mrs Schwitzke claims a number of suitable properties exist but are occupied by able bodied individuals who were handed tenancies as a result of their late partner's health requirements.

The 60-year-old grandmother said: “There are people who are allowed to stay in these places when they don't need them.

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“If they had brought family up there it would be different, but when they have been moved in because their partner is disabled, the chances are they have only been there for a short time.”

Mrs Schwitzke said she had not seen her elderly mother for more than 18 months because of her living arrangements.

She added: “There's such a shortage of adapted bungalows and I have waited for so long that I don't hold out much hope.

“I can't even go down to the council offices and argue because I can't get out of the house.”

Councillor Steven Wells, the borough's housing chief, said: “It would be harsh to chuck anybody out of their home, whether they have been there for a year, ten years or 20 years.

“When people are under-occupying or are in unsuitable premises, there are incentive schemes to encourage them to look at moving to another property.

“What we have been trying to do is take little parcels of council-owned land and develop them for the purposes of affordable housing.

“We are particularly pushing for more bungalows, of which we are desperately short.

“The idea is that people can downgrade to a bungalow but will be able to remain in the area in which they are currently living.”

Mr Wells said there were currently “six or seven” sites in line to be developed for social housing.

Do you agree with Mrs Schwitzke's view? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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