Runcorn couple sleep in the dining room with their baby because their home is too small

Runcorn and Widnes World: Simon How and his partner, Shirley Gallimore with their four daughters Simon How and his partner, Shirley Gallimore with their four daughters

A RUNCORN couple say their house is so overcrowded, they are sleeping in the dining room with their baby while their three other daughters occupy bedrooms upstairs.

Simon How, aged 30, and his partner, Shirley Gallimore, aged 34, only have space for one wardrobe between the whole family.

The cramped conditions in their Grangemoor home, they say, is hampering relationships.

Their six-month-old daughter, Santana has a cot beside their bed.

Samantha, aged 18, has the master bedroom, whilst Sabrina, aged 15, and three-year-old Sapphire-Rose sleep in two smaller bedrooms.

Simon, who works at the 02 call centre in Preston Brook and is studying to become an electrician, said: “We are a large family on a low income, trapped in a house which is too small.

“It is causing a lot of stress. We have to eat dinner off our laps in the living room.

“When I am getting dressed for work I have to hide behind screens. Our clothes are on the floor in bags.

“I would happily move into a private four bedroom but we can’t afford the £700 montly rent and deposit.

“All we want is a big enough house for us to live comfortably.”

Attempts to swap homes have collapsed twice and three bids on the Property Pool website have failed.

Mr How added: "We did not choose to move into this house. We were in a private rent house in Weston point, which although was still a three bedroom house it was considerably bigger than our current property.

"Although it would have been a bit of a squeeze, there would have been enough room in the bedrooms for our kids to share. Our previous landlord neglected to pay their mortgage leaving the house to get repossessed by the mortgage lender.

"This is the reason we are in our current position. There was room in our old house to accommodate another child. Based on our dating scans for our youngest, Shirley was already pregnant when we were forced to leave our old house. We only found out a few weeks after we moved in here.

"We were fighting to try and stay in our old home. But we were unsuccessful."

Nick Atkin, chief executive at Halton Housing Trust said: “Our housing options team is working with Mr How to resolve his family’s situation.

"Two mutual exchanges have unfortunately not proceeded at the final stage.  We have also reviewed his Property Pool Plus application ensure he and his family have been prioritised appropriately. 

"Unfortunately, they are not alone in requiring a more appropriate home for their circumstances . There are currently  3167 people on the waiting list in Halton, with 127 families looking for a larger home. 

"However, in the last six months, just 13 four bedroom homes in Runcorn have become available through Property Pool Plus.  This provides an indication how demand currently outstrips supply .

"The trust recognises the demand for new and additional homes.  Through our development programme we are planning to build a further 800 new homes in the next five years to meet some of that shortfall in the borough."

Comments (14)

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8:20am Wed 30 Apr 14

dong ding says...

Most people would put off having extra kids if they don't have room, keep it in your pants. Good luck
Most people would put off having extra kids if they don't have room, keep it in your pants. Good luck dong ding
  • Score: 45

10:57am Wed 30 Apr 14

pragma says...

its a three bed house why does everyone need their own room? don't kids normally share?
its a three bed house why does everyone need their own room? don't kids normally share? pragma
  • Score: 39

12:33pm Wed 30 Apr 14

itme says...

I imagine the house was big enough when they first moved in . Has it shrunk ? or does the blame lie elsewhere ?
I imagine the house was big enough when they first moved in . Has it shrunk ? or does the blame lie elsewhere ? itme
  • Score: 31

3:49pm Wed 30 Apr 14

LauraW22 says...

Grangemoor houses are a cracking size. I don't understand why you can't put 2 girls in 1 room and 2 in another, leaving a room for yourselves? Also, 2 of the 3 rooms have built in storage so not only 1 wardrobe. Hardly newsworthy and hardly a problem. I agree with dong ding, don't have more children if you don't have anywhere to put them.
Grangemoor houses are a cracking size. I don't understand why you can't put 2 girls in 1 room and 2 in another, leaving a room for yourselves? Also, 2 of the 3 rooms have built in storage so not only 1 wardrobe. Hardly newsworthy and hardly a problem. I agree with dong ding, don't have more children if you don't have anywhere to put them. LauraW22
  • Score: 29

9:16pm Wed 30 Apr 14

lynda72 says...

i suggest you all do not comment, untill you know the full story. This is a lovely family, who never chose to be in the situation. It was forced upon them. They were living in alternate accomodation, when they found out they were expecting the youngest daughter. It was not there choice to live here, Asking for a decent size council house cannot be considered as asking for too much, surely they are entitled to this ??
Please do not be so judgemental.
i suggest you all do not comment, untill you know the full story. This is a lovely family, who never chose to be in the situation. It was forced upon them. They were living in alternate accomodation, when they found out they were expecting the youngest daughter. It was not there choice to live here, Asking for a decent size council house cannot be considered as asking for too much, surely they are entitled to this ?? Please do not be so judgemental. lynda72
  • Score: -37

5:55pm Thu 1 May 14

Mooji23 says...

What an outrageous sense of self entitlement. The children need to share rooms. And yes, it'll be annoying for the elder girl to share with a 15 year old, but if her parents insist on having a fourth child then they need to man up and explain that they chose to have another child with only one income coming in.
There's a national shortage of cheap and affordable houses. These people pay the lowest rent as they're in social housing and now they want a bigger house? Those parents need to give their heads a wobble. They have three bedrooms for themselves and their children and want more? Idiots.
What an outrageous sense of self entitlement. The children need to share rooms. And yes, it'll be annoying for the elder girl to share with a 15 year old, but if her parents insist on having a fourth child then they need to man up and explain that they chose to have another child with only one income coming in. There's a national shortage of cheap and affordable houses. These people pay the lowest rent as they're in social housing and now they want a bigger house? Those parents need to give their heads a wobble. They have three bedrooms for themselves and their children and want more? Idiots. Mooji23
  • Score: 36

12:11pm Fri 2 May 14

LibraryFrog says...

I grew up in a 3 bedroom house (much smaller than the houses on Grangeway) where there were two girls in one room and two boys in another, with my parents in the master... and we didn't have a dining room so couldn't use it as an option! A three bed house is plenty big enough for a family of 6. You have to cut your cloth according to what you can afford. My parents couldn't afford a bigger house and we managed just fine.
I grew up in a 3 bedroom house (much smaller than the houses on Grangeway) where there were two girls in one room and two boys in another, with my parents in the master... and we didn't have a dining room so couldn't use it as an option! A three bed house is plenty big enough for a family of 6. You have to cut your cloth according to what you can afford. My parents couldn't afford a bigger house and we managed just fine. LibraryFrog
  • Score: 18

2:06pm Mon 5 May 14

anfieldlegend says...

Despite living overseas now, I still read the local paper weekly and saw this story, I thought to give my opinion.

I grew up in Runcorn and lived in a 3 bedroom house on Grangeway in the 1980's and 1990's. I had 3 siblings and had to share a room with my two brothers whilst my sister had the box room and our parents had the other. We never entertained the thought of having a room to ourselves in the same way that children now do. It was a case of that was what the council gave mum and dad and we made the best of it. We never thought it was overcrowded and that was how we lived and loved it. When I got to 16 and doing my exams, I wanted my own space so mum and dad let me move into the dining room. Again this was not overcrowding at all but simply a better use of the space that they could afford. They did not go to the council or the newspapers but simply got on with it. I think that people nowadays have a massive sense of over entitlement. You are not entitled to more space but should use what you can afford more effectively.

I am not making comment on the family by the way as this is not to insult them in any way as they do not deserve such comments but they do need to realise that they are not entitled to more and should live within their means. Just my opinion.
Despite living overseas now, I still read the local paper weekly and saw this story, I thought to give my opinion. I grew up in Runcorn and lived in a 3 bedroom house on Grangeway in the 1980's and 1990's. I had 3 siblings and had to share a room with my two brothers whilst my sister had the box room and our parents had the other. We never entertained the thought of having a room to ourselves in the same way that children now do. It was a case of that was what the council gave mum and dad and we made the best of it. We never thought it was overcrowded and that was how we lived and loved it. When I got to 16 and doing my exams, I wanted my own space so mum and dad let me move into the dining room. Again this was not overcrowding at all but simply a better use of the space that they could afford. They did not go to the council or the newspapers but simply got on with it. I think that people nowadays have a massive sense of over entitlement. You are not entitled to more space but should use what you can afford more effectively. I am not making comment on the family by the way as this is not to insult them in any way as they do not deserve such comments but they do need to realise that they are not entitled to more and should live within their means. Just my opinion. anfieldlegend
  • Score: 11

2:26pm Wed 7 May 14

urmo2urmy says...

My Mother-in-law can't get a smaller house because there aren't any available apparently. Rattling around in a house she can't afford to heat
My Mother-in-law can't get a smaller house because there aren't any available apparently. Rattling around in a house she can't afford to heat urmo2urmy
  • Score: 2

10:57pm Fri 9 May 14

tammy440 says...

I am sorry but i do agree with these people saying make them share. I am in a 3 bedroom house on castlefields and there are 7 of us. Me and my husband share the master room, my 3 youngest share the next room and my 2 eldest share the single room. I am a week away from having my 6th child and would give anything for a bigger home but we keep getting knocked back on property pool and can't afford private.
I am sorry but i do agree with these people saying make them share. I am in a 3 bedroom house on castlefields and there are 7 of us. Me and my husband share the master room, my 3 youngest share the next room and my 2 eldest share the single room. I am a week away from having my 6th child and would give anything for a bigger home but we keep getting knocked back on property pool and can't afford private. tammy440
  • Score: -4

6:22am Sat 10 May 14

BAMBI79 says...

Why keep having kids if your house is not big enough?
Why keep having kids if your house is not big enough? BAMBI79
  • Score: 13

9:29pm Sat 10 May 14

MollyCoddle says...

Before having children one has to consider the cost of raising and educating them properly before having one after another. Theres a real difference between having multiple children for your own selfish reasons and having fewer children because you know you can provide a reasonable standard of living, education and future prospects.
Before having children one has to consider the cost of raising and educating them properly before having one after another. Theres a real difference between having multiple children for your own selfish reasons and having fewer children because you know you can provide a reasonable standard of living, education and future prospects. MollyCoddle
  • Score: 7

12:26pm Thu 15 May 14

CM1995 says...

This is ridiculous, I'm 18 and I have to share with my 14 year old sister so why can't yours?
This is ridiculous, I'm 18 and I have to share with my 14 year old sister so why can't yours? CM1995
  • Score: 10

2:55pm Sun 25 May 14

SAC_in_Warrington says...

They should stay put and have a housing advisor a suitable room arrangement. Though it is quite simple, put all the younger children in the largest bedroom and the oldest child in the smallest bedroom. The middle sized bedroom can then be for the parents. The problem solved and a 4 bedroom house is not essential in this case. However if there are single occupancy tenants in any of the social housing sector then they should be rehoused into one or two bedroom properties and make it a condition of their tenancy agreement to stop the bottle neck in the fair distribution of suitable-for-need housing.
They should stay put and have a housing advisor a suitable room arrangement. Though it is quite simple, put all the younger children in the largest bedroom and the oldest child in the smallest bedroom. The middle sized bedroom can then be for the parents. The problem solved and a 4 bedroom house is not essential in this case. However if there are single occupancy tenants in any of the social housing sector then they should be rehoused into one or two bedroom properties and make it a condition of their tenancy agreement to stop the bottle neck in the fair distribution of suitable-for-need housing. SAC_in_Warrington
  • Score: 1

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