Safe as houses

IPSWICH tenant Pat Bagley finally has something to celebrate – after a nine-month struggle to hang on to her home.The disabled pensioner was left reeling last year after being told to quit her Turner Road home of 53 years just days after her mother died.

IPSWICH tenant Pat Bagley finally has something to celebrate - after a nine-month struggle to hang on to her home.

The disabled pensioner was left reeling last year after being told to quit her Turner Road home of 53 years just days after her mother died.

But after an outcry from neighbours and a campaign spearheaded by The Evening Star, the new administration at Civic Centre promised to look afresh at its housing allocation policy.

Now it has decided that Miss Bagley - and other families in similar situations - can stay in their homes providing that is appropriate.

Miss Bagley, 66, received the news this week and has been on cloud nine ever since.

She said: "I'm just so happy, it's a real weight off my mind. The night after I heard the news I woke up in the middle of the night and shouted 'hooray!'

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"I'm sure the dog thought I'd gone completely mad!"

The support she has received from her family, friends, and other people who had heard about the case had been crucial.

She said: "I'd like to thank everyone who has helped with this, the Star readers who helped back me have been wonderful. Thank you so much."

Ipswich council acting leader and housing spokeswoman Liz Harsant said coming up with a new allocation policy had been a priority when the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration took over last September.

She said: "I was aware of Miss Bagley's case, and she was one of the first people I saw in this role.

"We have now come up with a new, more pragmatic, policy. People will be able to stay in their homes if they have lived there a long time, and if there is no extra cost involved in converting the home."

Normally the new rules will apply only to people over 60 - but there can be exceptions in certain circumstances.

One of these is the case of brother and sister Phillip and Janet Webber who had feared they would have to leave their home after their mother died.

Janet and Philip Webber, who have lived in their Spenser Road home since they were children, were threatened with having to leave their home of 40 years.

Now, however the borough has decided not to move the pair from the house - and has granted them a new joint tenancy.

The pair received the good news in a letter from the council on last Tuesday.

Mr Webber, 46, said: "It was a brown envelope addressed to me and my sister. I thought it was bad news. It had been dragging on a bit and I thought no news was good news."

But the letter contained the tenancy offer and the overjoyed Webbers.

Mr Webber said: "I am absolutely thrilled about the outcome. It couldn't have been better. It's been long and drawn-out, but it's all come good. My sister is happy as well.

"It's been our home for 40 years and we really wouldn't want to leave it."

The distraught Webbers then received notice to quit - saying they had to be out by April 11.

The tenancy of the Spenser Road house could not be transferred to them because tenancy of a council house can only be transferred once - and it had already been transferred from their father to their mother.

Mr Webber added: "We would like to thank our neighbours and friends, who have been absolutely superb. I couldn't have asked for more.

"I think getting in touch with The Evening Star may have turned it our way. That's what a local paper is for."

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