A family says they live in fear as the local council has threatened to evict all 13 of them.
The West Yorkshire family have said they may be forced to move into a hostel if they cannot find another property before their deadline of January 26.
Clifford Westfall and Clair Patterson live in a huge eight bedroom house in Keighley with their nine children. Clifford’s brother and Clair’s brother also live with them as they need extra care.
However, distraught parents fear their family will soon be torn apart after Bradford council told them they must leave their two-and-a-half-year-old home by the end of the month.
They even fear that they will be forced to move into a hostel if they cannot find other accommodation on time.
Clifford, 37, said: “All we want is to be together as a family.”
The couple are paying Â£ 1,000 a month for private property on Green Head Road and are desperate to stay in the area – Yorkshire Live reports.
Their seven youngest children all go to school in Keighley and the family business, a toy store in the town center, is just one mile away.
Clair said: âIf we lived elsewhere, it would be physically impossible for me to bring seven children to four different schools and then get to work. It just wouldn’t happen.
âWe don’t want huge changes. We want everything to stay as normal and as happy as possible.
“Keeping the kids in Keighley, where they know it, is the only way to do it.”
However, an extension of the property, built by the owner, violates the town planning rules. The works have exceeded the agreed dimensions and the house is now considered too high.
Three separate retrospective planning applications and an appeal to the government planning inspector were all unsuccessful.
It led the council to obtain an expropriation order on the property. Clifford, Clair and their family were initially asked to move out before January 26.
After Clifford and Clair were asked to leave, they said they sought help from the council in finding another place to live after struggling to find a suitable place.
âThere is nothing on the market for a family our size,â Clifford said.
âA few years ago we lived in a three bedroom house. We were so happy, even though it was so small, but it just wasn’t big enough.
âSince we have been in this big house, we have never been safe or comfortable.
“The council says they can’t put us in a four or five bedroom house because it would be overcrowded, but we have to be together.”
The couple say they even asked if they could merge two houses into one.
âWe’re not trying to be money grabbers,â Clifford said. “We are quite ready to pay our way.
âWe pay Â£ 1000 per month in rent. We pay Â£ 378 per month in council tax, we pay all the bills for our house.
âWe don’t want to take anything from the system for free. We work for everything we have.
“We don’t want a big house and it to be cheap. We will pay. We just want to be together.”
Clair added, “We will pay two rounds of municipal taxes, two rounds of bills, but the council said we can’t do it like that.”
Bradford council has said it is trying to extend the deadline beyond January 26, but this has yet to be officially approved.
A spokesperson added that the council “will continue to support” the family throughout the process and is exploring the possibility of providing “two accommodation units adjacent to or close to each other.”
Clifford and Clair say they were told their family could be moved to a youth hostel.
âWhen they said that, I thought, ‘Is this real? âSaid Clifford.
âWhat’s a foot or two compared to making a family homeless?
“If we had to [leave Keighley] we would do it.
âBut a youth hostel? It just can’t happen. It wouldn’t work. “
The couple have one child together, but have custody of their eight children from previous relationships. The youngest is only two years old, while the oldest is 19.
Local councilor Mohsin Hussain tried to get the council to provide more help to the family.
He explained: “It is very difficult to find another property of this size, but I told council we need to find another property for Clifford and his family to move into – or to extend the deadline.
âCouncil is not wrong about this, but there has to be support from council and housing associations for Clifford and his family.
“I wouldn’t want this to happen to me and I certainly wouldn’t want it to happen to any of my constituents.”
But the family, who have spent Christmas with the deadline looming over their heads, are still not close to finding another place to live.
âAll we want is to be together as a family,â said Clifford. âWe don’t want to be in a hostel in the middle of nowhere.
“We don’t want to take stuff from people, we don’t want freebies, we don’t want gifts. We just want help.
“We want to keep the family together and ensure the safety of the family.”
The couple claim to have paid their rent to Jigsaw Property Services. However, a spokesperson for the rental agent said: “We have managed the property for a short time, but we are no longer renting it.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “The violation Mr Westfall appears to be referring to relates to the building permit rather than the building regulations. This was obtained by the owner of the property in 2018 to enlarge the house, however, the actual work carried out went beyond what had been approved, resulting in an unauthorized increase in the total height of the property.
âThree separate retrospective planning applications for an increase in the height of the roof have been submitted since the start of the work. These requests were all refused and an appeal to the government urban planning inspector by the owner challenging the decision was rejected on May 28, 2020.
âIn view of this and as the owner did not rectify the breach, a work notice was issued directing him to carry out the work in accordance with the approved building permit or to demolish the unauthorized work. No appeal was filed against the notice of execution and therefore it should have been complied with by August 18, 2021.
âRegarding the rehousing of Mr. Westfall and his family, Mr. Westfall and his family have been assessed by the local authority’s housing options department under the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 .
âThe Housing Options Officer is currently exploring appropriate rehousing options in the private and social housing sectors. This also includes the provision of two accommodation units adjacent to or close to each other.
âIf Mr. Westfall becomes homeless before the eviction deadline, the local authority will have a legal obligation to offer temporary accommodation with one of our mandated providers. The provision of temporary accommodation, if necessary , will be in the same location The local authority will continue to support Mr. Westfall and his family during this relocation process.
âThe council is currently in the process of preparing legal documentation to extend the current deadline of January 26, 2022 to allow more time to find suitable housing options for Mr. Westfall and his family. It will receive this documentation in the next one. seven days.”
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