“WE will not be moved.”
Those are the defiant words of a Southampton family of five who have barricaded themselves inside a friend’s council house to evade eviction back to their own “tiny” flat by council bosses.
Wayne Brett, Danielle Hart and their three children packed their bags and left their allocated council accommodation, a one-bedroom flat in Redbridge, because they said it was too small and mouldy.
The family, including Louise, 12, Thomas, one, and Lola, three months, say they were so cramped they had to share a bedroom in the Kendal Avenue property. Delivery driver Wayne and full-time mum Danielle were forced to sleep on the floor.
Wayne said he moved into the flat with his partner Danielle two years ago when they were just a family of four.
Since then the couple have had one more child.
But the family’s lifestyle turned around when they took advantage of friend Gary Hall’s move to Stoke, by taking over his threebedroom council house.
They say the house is spacious, mould-free and has transformed their lives.
But now they face eviction from the spacious home in Tintern Grove, Shirley, because they did not get permission from Southampton City Council.
Wayne, who has barricaded his family inside and has refused to leave the home, said: “Our flat was just too small, and this new one has really helped the children have space to breathe. We do not want to move anywhere, and I can’t afford to go anywhere.”
However council bosses issued a stark warning, saying they do not condone unauthorised occupation of their houses and said the family must move out or they will be evicted.
They said there is a greater need for other people on the council house waiting list to have the three-bedroom home.
A Southampton City Council spokesman said: “Whilst the council recognises the difficulties of families waiting sometimes long periods for council and housing association homes, we cannot condone unauthorised occupation.
“There are many households in similar situations of need who are waiting to be offered a social housing tenancy who will be disadvantaged by these actions.”
The spokesman added that unless the family return to their house they could be left homeless.
He said: “The family has been asked to return to their home and if in due course they don’t, we will have no choice but to ask the courts to evict them.”