Norwich disabled man’s battle for home after leaving hospital

Wheelchair-bound man has spent five weeks sleeping on his father’s sofa

Tom Bristow
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
6:36 AM

A lack of flatwheelchair-bound man has spent five weeks sleeping on his father’s sofas for disabled people in Norwich has meant a wheelchair-bound man has spent five weeks sleeping on his father’s sofa, despite being in the “emergency” band for a council house.

Simon Kindleysides, 29, left the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in a wheelchair five weeks ago expecting to be placed in a ground floor flat adapted for disabled people.

He had been in the hospital for six weeks with a neurological syndrome which meant he has lost the use of his legs.

And unable to get up to his two-bedroom, first floor council flat on Union Street, he was put as a priority on Norwich City Council’s housing waiting list for a one-bedroom flat.

But he said that in five weeks of searching not a single flat had become available for wheelchair users.

Mr Kindleysides, who worked as a trainee manager at Pizza Hut before his illness, said: “I have had three incidents where I’ve fallen over in my dad’s house and I haven’t been able to wash properly.”

And the father-of-two is no longer allowed a two-bedroom flat even if one is available and suited to him, due to changes in council policy.

The musician said he would be willing to pay the difference to move into a two-bedroom home, but that is against housing policy.

Norwich South MP Simon Wright has written to the city council about Mr Kindleysides’ case questioning why he was allowed a two-bedroom flat before but is now being forced to only look for a one-bedroom.

Mr Wright said: “Very suddenly Mr Kindleysides has found himself in a situation through his ill-health where he can’t return to his home.

“It seems to make sense to allow a degree of flexibility.”

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said Mr Kindleysides had been given priority over other applicants when bidding for a council home.

The spokeswoman said: “While we receive many requests from applicants to be able to bid for larger properties than they would normally be eligible for, we are only able to agree to these requests where we have very strong evidence to verify a need for the larger property.

“The policy that guides how housing is allocated is applied equally to everyone on the housing register to ensure fairness, transparency and consistency – all of which help us to make sure the right housing goes to those in need.”

Alongside the struggle to find somewhere to live, Mr Kindleysides and his girlfriend Hannah Young are also having to deal with a complete change in lifestyle since he developed functional neurological syndrome.

“It is the worst thing I could imagine in terms of how your life changes,” he said. “I used to have my kids stay over and go swimming. Now I can’t even take them to the park. I can’t even get them a biscuit.”

Doctors are hopeful Mr Kindleysides will eventually get over the condition and get out of the wheelchair.