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Council's U-turn is a home win for disabled brothers

Richard and Frank Smith signed a new tenancy deal with Solihull Council – two months after the authority threatened to kick them out of their home.

Disabled brothers Frank (L) and Richard Smith, from Putney Walk, Chelmsley Wood are been evicted from their house because their mother has been taken into care
Disabled brothers Frank (L) and Richard Smith, from Putney Walk, Chelmsley Wood

Two disabled brothers have won their desperate battle to stay in their home of 34 years.

Richard and Frank Smith signed a new tenancy deal with Solihull Council – two months after the authority threatened to kick them out of their home.

The brothers were ordered out – even though money had been spent on adapting the property for wheelchair-bound Richard.

The U-turn came after an outcry sparked by our report and lobbying from local councillor David Jamieson.

Frank said: “It is a huge relief to us.

“We had such a good response to the story and I am sure it all helped.

“There is nothing like being able to relax in your own home.”

A third brother, Steve, added: “This is a victory for commonsense and decency. We applaud Solihull Council for reaching a humane and sensible decision.”

Richard, 54, has cerebral palsy and 56-year-old Frank, his full-time carer, suffers from acute anxiety.

They were told to leave their home in Putney Walk, Chelmsley Wood, when their 90-year-old mother Catherine, the registered tenant, moved into care. The council said the pair were under-occupying the property and would have to move to a two-bedroom home, instead.

But Richard has lived in the house since 1980 and is settled in the community. The home was previously fitted with ramps, hand rails and a walk-in shower.

The authority said in January: “We are awaiting confirmation that Mrs Smith has gone into residential care permanently.

“Her sons have no legal rights to the tenancy as it is in their mum’s name. We are looking for alternative two bedroom accommodation more suitable for their needs.

“An independent medical officer will also review their situation.”

Coun Jamieson said of the about-turn: “It’s a triumph for democracy.

“I’m delighted everyone has seen sense and the brothers can stay in their home.

“The council came to the conclusion that to move them would cause untold anxiety and upheaval, and all the adaptations needed would have a cost, too.”

 

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