Hundreds sign petition to keep family in Newham

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to stop Newham Council from relocating a family of four to

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to stop Newham Council from relocating a family of four to Birmingham. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to stop the council moving a family with an autistic son 125 miles away.

So far, 454 residents have backed an online petition to keep Claudine Clarke and her three children in the borough.

According to the 38-year-old single mother, Newham Council are attempting to relocate her family to Birmingham.

“I have lived in Newham for 15 years, it’s where my children have grown up and it’s what they know,” said Claudine.

“My eldest son Deno has severe autism and it will be very unsettling to have him moved.”

Deno, 18, attends NewVic College in Plaistow.

According to Claudine her son has become “used to his college and environment” and sudden change would be “difficult”.

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Newham Council first moved Claudine from her home in Ordnance Road in Canning Town, last July.

She was found temporary accommodation in Gurney Close, Barking – where she still lives - and in November, she received a letter from the council stating she was to be moved to Birmingham by December 7.

Claudine said: “My son is autistic, my daughter has suffered with epilepsy and we have no family or friends there.

“How could they just make that decision?”

“They are telling me I can’t live in Newham because I can’t afford to. But this is where I need to be for my children.”

Petition organiser Ellen Clifford, who works for Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “The family are reliant on local needs and the move to Birmingham would have consequences on their well-being.” The amount of support they have received so far is tremendous.”

A Newham Council spokeswoman said a “reasonable offer of accommodation outside of the borough” had been made to Claudine which took into account the “needs of her family” and “severe housing pressures” on the council.”

She added: “At her request, this decision was reviewed and, due to a recent change in circumstance, we will continue to accommodate this family on a temporary basis at their current address with a view to making another offer of accommodation at a later date. The future offer may not be in London.

“Due to London’s housing crisis, which is felt acutely in Newham, we have to make tough decisions every day as there is simply not enough housing of a decent standard in the borough to accommodate the high number of homeless families who approach us for help.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure we have good quality, affordable housing in the borough which is fairly distributed but this is becoming increasingly difficult.”