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."