Family-of-eight ‘have nowhere to live’ until Xmas as home set to be demolished

A family of eight face being made homeless as their three-bedroom home is set to be bulldozed due to regeneration plans in Birmingham.

Michelle, 35, and Matthew Love Bicknell, 36, have launched a desperate appeal to their council in a bid to find another home for their six children aged between eight and 15.

The distraught family say they were slapped with an eviction notice after their landlord was forced to sell up due to development plans in Kingshurst.

But the family claim that they are not allowed to start bidding on properties until 56 days before their notice runs out – which is just before Christmas on December 12 , reports Birmingham Live.

Mum Michelle is currently out of work due to a health condition and despite her husband's income from his work supplying parts to Jaguar Land Rover, the pair said they can't afford to continue renting privately.

"Do you know expensive it is to private rent now?" Michelle said. "A four-bed house to private rent is between £1,200 and £1,500.

"We should be entitled to a house if the council are knocking these ones down. Everyone else is and I don't understand why we aren't either."

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Husband Matthew has since hit out at Solihull Council for leaving him to fend for his six children and partner Michelle who is disabled.

"We're not getting the help we need," he said.

"From day one they promised that even if you were a private rented tenant we would help you.

"They have gone back on everything they said they would do for a private tenant. It's not fair. We were supposed to be treated exactly the same as council tenants.

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"They want us to move out and just go. What do I do with six kids and a disabled wife?

"The council are taking us out of our house where we have been for five and a half years so the council should house us."

The long-awaited regeneration of Kingshurst will see millions invested to develop the town centre.

The work looks set to get underway in December but the project has been delayed over the years. The target date for completing the new village centre remains winter 2025/26.

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A spokesperson for Solihull Community Housing, which runs housing services for Solihull Council, said the regeneration programme would create "modern new homes, shops and a space for families to enjoy".

But they admitted that as a result, a "very small number" of families stand to lose their homes. The spokesperson added the availability of four and five-bed properties in the borough was "extremely limited".

Michelle and Matthew are the only ones left on the row of houses in the Solihull area, with the rest bordered up. They say the street has been plagued by bored youths setting fires as other residents moved out.

"My whole road has been boarded up," she added. "I've got six kids here with me and my partner. The council are just not telling us anything to be honest.

"We're the last one that hasn't got signs outside. They have been broken into by kids who have tried to set them on fire."

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A spokesperson for Solihull Community Housing said: “The Kingshurst Regeneration programme is an exciting new phase in the area’s history, creating modern new homes, shops and a space for families to enjoy.

"As a result of the development, a very small number of families currently in private rented accommodation do sadly stand to lose their homes.

“We understand that moving home can be a difficult time, and as such we have dedicated officers to work with affected families. Officers will discuss a range of housing options on a case by case basis to help families find suitable alternative accommodation.

“The challenge is greater with larger-sized families as the availability of four or five-bed properties is extremely limited. We are though working closely with those affected to support them in finding alternative accommodation that will meet their needs.

“We have made those families in private rented accommodation aware that they are eligible for up to £2,000 support with rent in advance and deposit if they move to another private rented property.”

Have you experienced cramped, squalid or poor housing? Contact us at Monica.charsley@reachplc.com

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