James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Grandmother Forced To Sleep On A Mattress On The Floor For Ten Years
29 August 2019, 14:11
A grandmother has been awarded £24,000 after being forced to sleep on a mattress in her living room for over ten years because her council house was too small.
The woman, identified as Mrs B, was told by Lancashire County Council that an extension would be built on her three-bedroom house after she began fostering two of her grandchildren, both under the age of two, in 2004.
Mrs B already had three children under 10 at home, meaning she and her daughter had to sleep in the living room on makeshift beds.
As agreed with the council, Mrs B bought the home in 2007, and plans were drawn up to add an extra bedroom and shower room, and to extend the downstairs kitchen/dining area and utility room.
It took the council four years to come up with a budget for the work, and in 2011 they decided it would cost £109,000 to complete the work.
But following a number of the delays the work was not able to be done until 2016 - meaning the budget had increased to £160,000.
The council subsequently told Mrs B the work would no longer be carried out.
Mrs B complained to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, whose investigation found the council delayed getting an agreement for the extension.
It also found that the council delayed deciding whether to provide the family with a people-carrier, despite knowing the family had no access to transportation.
Ombudsman Michael King said throughout the time living in the "crowded home" the children have become young adults while struggling with "lack of privacy and emotional development."
He added: "The extension would have significantly improved their living conditions had it been built as agreed."
Lancashire County Council said: "We have fully apologised to the person involved, and we are very sorry for the distress our failings have caused.
"The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has identified a number of actions and we've drawn up a plan to address all the shortcomings that were outlined in the report."