Families of 13 live in fear as they face council eviction from eight bedroom property

One family says they are living in fear as the local council has threatened to evict all 13 of them.

A West Yorkshire family say they may be forced to move to a hostel if they cannot find another property by the January 26 deadline.

Clifford Westfall and Claire Patterson live with their nine children in a spacious eight-bedroom house in Keighley. Clifford’s brother and Claire’s brother also live with them as they need extra caregiving support.

Though distraught parents are concerned that their family may soon be torn apart as Bradford council tells them they will have to leave the two-and-a-half-year-old home by the end of the month.

They also fear that they may be forced to move to a hostel if they do not get another property by the deadline.

Clifford, 37, said: “We just want to be together as a family.”

The couple pay £1,000 a month to privately rent property in Green Head Road and are desperate to live in the area – report yorkshire live,

Their seven youngest children all attend school in Keighley and the family business, a toy store in the town center, is just a mile away.

Claire said: “If we had lived elsewhere, it would have been physically impossible for me to take seven kids to four different schools and then go to work. It wouldn’t have happened.

“We don’t want big changes. We want to keep everything as normal and happy as possible.

“Keeping the kids in Keighley’s where they know is the only way to do that.”

Clifford Westfall and Claire Patterson are very concerned about where they will be after January 26

However, the extension of the property constructed by the landlord violates the planning rules. The work has exceeded the agreed dimensions and the house is now considered too tall.

Three separate retrospective planning applications and an appeal to the government’s planning inspector have all failed.

This prompted the council to obtain a mandatory purchase order on the property. Clifford, Claire and their family were initially asked to move out by January 26.

After Clifford and Claire are told to leave, he states that he sought help from the council in finding somewhere to live after struggling to find a suitable one.

“There’s nothing on the market for a family of our size,” Clifford said.

“We lived in a three bedroom house a few years ago. We were very happy, even though it was so small, it wasn’t big enough.

“Ever since we’ve lived in a house this big, we’ve never been safe or comfortable.

“The council says they can’t put us in a four- or five-bedroom house because it will be overcrowded, but we need to be together.”

The couple says that they have even asked if they can break the two houses into one.

“We’re not trying to grab money,” Clifford said. “We are fully prepared to pay our way.

“We pay £1,000 a month as rent. We pay £378 a month council tax, we pay all our house bills.

“We don’t want to take anything out of the system for free. We work for what we’ve got.

“We don’t want a big house and for it to be cheap. We’ll pay. We just want to be together.”

Clare said: “We’ll pay two sets of council tax, two sets of bills, but the council said we can’t do that.”

Bradford Council said it was looking to push the deadline beyond January 26, but it has yet to be formally approved.

A spokesman said the council would “continue to support” the family throughout the process and that it was exploring the possibility of providing “two housing units close to or in close proximity to each other”.

Clifford and Claire claim that they have been told that their family may be moved to a hostel.

“When he said that, I thought: ‘Is that true?'” Clifford said.

“What’s a foot or two in comparison to homeless a family?

“If we had to [leave Keighley] We will do it.

“But a hostel? It can’t happen. It won’t work.”

The couple has one child together, but they have custody of eight children from previous relationships. The youngest is only two years old, while the eldest is 19 years old.

Local councilor Mohsin Hussain has tried to push the council to provide more help to the family.

He explained: “It is very difficult to find another property of this size, but I have told council that we need to find another property for Clifford and his family – or to extend the deadline.

“The council is not wrong on this, but Clifford and his family need support from the council and housing associations.

“I don’t want that to happen to me and I certainly wouldn’t want it to happen to any of my constituents.”

But families, who spent Christmas with big deadlines on their heads, are still no closer to finding somewhere to live.

“We just want to be together as a family,” Clifford said. “We don’t want to live in a hostel in the middle.

“We don’t want people to take stuff, we don’t want freebies, we don’t want handouts. We just want some help.

“We want to keep the family together and keep the family safe.”

The couple claims that they pay their rent to Aara Property Services. However, a spokesperson for the letting agent said: “We managed the property for a short time, but we no longer let the property out.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “The violation Mr. Westfall is referring to is related to planning permission rather than building rules. It was obtained by the property owner to extend the house in 2018 However, the actual work done exceeded that sanctioned resulting in unauthorized increase in the overall height of the property.

“Three separate retrospective planning applications have been submitted for the increase in ceiling height since the commencement of work. All these applications were rejected and an appeal of the Planning Inspectorate to the Government by the owner challenging the decision was rejected. Was rejected on May 28, 2020.

“In view of this and as the owner failed to rectify the breach, an enforcement notice was issued requiring them to carry out work as per approved planning permission or to demolish unauthorized works. No appeal was presented against the enforcement notice. and hence should have been complied with by August 18, 2021.

“In connection with the rehabilitation of Mr. Westfall and his family, Mr. Westfall and his family have been assessed by the Housing Choice Service of the local authority in accordance with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

“The Housing Options Officer is presently exploring suitable housing options in the private and social housing sectors. This also includes providing two housing units within or in close proximity to each other.

“Should Mr. Westfall become homeless before the eviction deadline, the local authority will have a statutory duty to offer temporary housing with one of our commission providers. The temporary housing offer will be in the same location, if necessary. The Authority will continue to support Mr. Westfall and his family during this rehabilitation process.

“The Council is currently in the process of preparing a legal document to extend the current deadline of January 26, 2022 to allow additional time to source suitable housing options for Mr. Westfall and his family. That is within the next The receipt of this document will take seven days.”

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