Protest dad claims victory

A FATHER who chained himself up inside a council office in protest over a housing dispute today claimed victory.As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Philip Bowers chained himself to a post inside Babergh District Council's offices in Hadleigh in a bid to force the officials into discussions about his home.

A FATHER who chained himself inside a council office in protest over a housing dispute today claimed victory.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Philip Bowers chained himself to a post inside Babergh District Council's offices in Hadleigh in a bid to force the officials into discussions about his family's home.

Mr Bowers, a builder, had carried out £15,000 worth alterations to the layout of the two-bedroom council house he shares with his fiancée Samantha Piggott and four children in Rectory Close, Raydon.

But the 32-year-old had not asked for permission from the council and when Babergh housing officers discovered the work - which had included removing an internal wall to create a larger living room and installing a new kitchen - they demanded he pay them £8,000 to undo all the work.


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Mr Bowers admitted he should have asked permission from the council to complete the work but said it was an attempt to improve the quality of life for his family.

The couple had already applied to be moved to a large house but had been told they would have to wait at least five years.

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So when the couple received letter demanding they pay for contractors to return the house to its former state, Mr Bowers arrived at the Hadleigh offices yesterday armed with handcuffs and a chain to begin his protest.

Four hours later, Mr Bowers got the discussion he had demanded and was able to claim victory.

The authority agreed to allow Mr Bowers to re-install the wall he had removed. He also claimed it has said it will move his family once the work was finished.

He said: "I can do all the work myself, which means it will cost about £400.

"The protest was very much worth doing, otherwise I would never have got my side of things heard."

The council released a statement from head of housing Chris Foti, which read: "Babergh is pleased that, after further discussions with the tenant, the council's request to reinstate the supporting wall will be carried out at no cost to the council," the statement said.

"Our overriding concern has always been the safety of our tenants and the good maintenance of our properties."

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