Family of 12 to get Ipswich council homes joined together

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Media captionThe petition opposed the move to knock two council houses together

Plans to knock two Ipswich council houses together for a family with 10 children have sparked a petition from neighbours opposing it.

Ipswich Borough Council is to connect the family's three-bedroom house in Maidenhall with the neighbouring empty property, at a cost of £6,000.

People who signed the petition said it was a waste of taxpayers' money.

The council said it was the most cost-effective way of meeting the family's housing needs.

The couple have lived in the house for seven years. The children are aged between 11 months and 15-years-old and there is another baby on the way.

Timothy Fisk, the 44-year-old father of the family, said he had "worked hard" in his life, but was currently unemployed.

He said one of his sons had health care needs and his partner required round-the-clock care.

"I'm disgusted [by the petition]," he said. "It's none of their business and I shouldn't have to sit here and tell everyone who lives round here my life story.

"It will be really appreciated having that other property.

"It saves a lot of money - why should the council go out and build another house?"

Mr Fisk said two older children had left home.

Image caption The neighbouring three-bedroom house (on the left) has been standing empty

'Unusual situation'

About 80 people from the area have signed a petition against the decision to connect the three-bedroom houses.

One man, who signed the petition but did not wish to be named, said: "It's a waste of money.

"They were overcrowded when they first moved in and if you can have all them children in a three-bedroom house, how many more is she going to have in a six-bedroom house?

"If you can't afford the children, you shouldn't have them."

A woman, who also did not want to be named, said: "They're oversized because of their own doing and to make that in to one house for them is not fair on smaller families."

The council said there were 391 other families on its social housing waiting list who were eligible for a three-bedroom property.

The local authority said the petition was considered, but it only had one six-bedroom house in its housing stock and it had a duty of care to the family.

A spokesperson said: "This is a very unusual situation and not one we would normally contemplate doing but, having reviewed all the options, we believe this is the most cost-effective option to meet this family's needs."

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