Top of the waiting list but no home for disabled toddler

Rosanna Giddings with her daughter Grace. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3781-08-14SH. To order your c

Rosanna Giddings with her daughter Grace. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3781-08-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to - Credit: Archant

A YOUNG, working, single mum at the front of the housing queue has been denied a long-term home because the district council will not kit out a property for her disabled toddler.

Rosanna Giddings is angry that she and daughter Grace, four, who has cerebral palsy, have been overlooked for a dwelling they had set their hearts on - and has won the backing of MP Hugo Swire.

Hairdresser Rosanna is top of a waiting list she has been on for four years and feels a council house is her only option as Grace grows bigger. Renting privately is proving unsuitable and she cannot afford to buy.

But East Devon District Council (EDDC) says too many alterations - costing up to £10,000 - would be needed at the Arcot Road house in question and that mother and daughter will have to bide their time until an already-adapted property becomes available.

Rosanna, 24, says healthcare professionals involved with Grace felt the house was suitable and is upset the authority has carried out work for others in similar situations.

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She acknowledges changes are needed, but was even willing to seek charity funding. East Devon MP Mr Swire has taken up Rosanna’s case and written to EDDC.

“In all the time I’ve been waiting, not a single property for a disabled person has become available in Sidmouth,” said Rosanna. “They are doing it for other people, I don’t know why we are getting treated differently.

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“I feel they are constantly going to turn us away – even though we’re top of the list.”

Rosanna, of South Lawn, Sidford, is looking to move from privately rented accommodation as she will need somewhere where alterations can be made for Grace.

She is already suffering back problems and thinks paying to live in a council property is her only option for a secure, long-term home.

An EDDC spokesman said the authority was ‘sympathetic to the needs’ of Rosanna and Grace, adding: “We are doing everything we can to identify a suitable property.

“We have a policy of trying to move families or individuals with disabilities into properties that are already adapted for that type of use. There are a good number in the district.

“In this case, the property the applicant is interested in would need extensive adaptation, including structural alterations to widen doors for a wheelchair and either a ground-floor bedroom and bathroom or a stairlift, at an estimated total cost of around £10,000. We have therefore asked the applicant to wait until a suitable property becomes available.”

Mr Swire said: “I have been trying to assist Miss Giddings in this matter and will continue to do whatever I can to put forward her case.”

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