Family of 13 in eight-bed house fear being made homeless in days

A family of 13 received an eviction notice from their local council and is now afraid of becoming homeless.

Clifford Westfall and Clare Patterson live with their nine children in a large eight-bedroom house in Keighley, Bradford – Clifford’s brother and Clair’s brother also live with them for extra care.

The large family now lives in fear of being torn apart after Bradford Council informed them they must leave their two and a half year old home by January 26, Yorkshire Live reports.

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Clifford, 37, said, “We just want to be together as a family.”

If they cannot find another apartment within the deadline, the family fears that they will have to move to a hostel.

The privately rented property on Green Head Road costs the couple £ 1,000 a month and they are dying to stay in the area.



Clifford Westfall and Clair Patterson

This is because the seven youngest children all go to school in Keighley and the family-run, city-center toy store is just a mile from what is now the property.

Clair said, “If we lived anywhere else, it would be physically impossible for me to take seven children to four different schools and then go to work. It just wasn’t going to happen.

“We don’t want the big change. We want to keep everything as normal and as happy as possible.

“Keeping the Keighley kids where they know is the only way to do this.”

However, an extension built by the landlord violates the planning regulations because it has exceeded the agreed dimensions, which now classify the house as too high.

Three separate attempts to submit building applications and an appeal to the government’s planning inspector have all failed.

Because of the dispute, the council obtained a forced purchase of the property.

After instructing Clifford and Claire to leave by Jan 26, they claim they sought help from the council in finding other accommodation after trying to find a suitable location.

“There’s nothing in the market for a family our size,” said Clifford.

“We lived in a three-room house a few years ago. We were so happy, even though it was so small, but it just wasn’t big enough.

“Since we’ve been in this big house, we’ve never felt safe or comfortable.

“The council says they can’t put us in a four or five bedroom house because it would be crowded, but we have to be together.”

It even got to the point where the couple said they asked if they could break two houses into one.

“We’re not trying to be money makers,” said Clifford. “We are fully prepared to pay for our way.

“We pay £ 1,000 a month in rent. We pay £ 378 a month council tax, we pay all the bills for our house.

“We don’t want to take anything out of the system for free. We work for everything we have.

“We don’t want a big house and it should be cheap. We’ll pay. We just want to be together.”



Clifford Westfall (center) and Clair Patterson (center left) with their nine children

Clair added, “We’re going to pay two sets of council tax and two sets of bills, but the council said we couldn’t do it that way.”

The local authority told YorkshireLive that it had tried to extend the deadline beyond January 26, but this has not yet been officially approved.

A spokesperson added that the council “will continue to support the family throughout the process” and is considering the possibility of “having two housing units next to each other or in close proximity to each other”.

Even so, Clifford and Clair claim they were told their family could move to a hostel.

“When you said that, I thought, ‘Is this real?'” Said Clifford.

“What is a foot or two compared to making a family homeless?

“If we had to [leave Keighley] we would do it.

“But a hostel? That just can’t happen. It wouldn’t work.”



Clifford Westfall (center) and Clair Patterson (center left) with their family

While the couple have one child together, they have custody of the eight other children from previous relationships – the youngest is two years old, the oldest is 19 years old.

Local councilor Mohsin Hussain claims he tried to encourage the local council to do more to help the family.

He said, “It is very difficult to find another property this size, but I have told the council that we need to find another property for Clifford and his family to move into – or to extend the deadline.

“The council is not wrong, but Clifford and his family need support from the council and the housing associations.

“I wouldn’t want this to happen to me, and I certainly wouldn’t want it to happen to any of my constituents.”

But the family, who spent Christmas with a big deadline, are nowhere near any closer to finding another apartment.

“All we want to do is be together as a family,” said Clifford. “We don’t want to be in a hostel in the middle of nowhere.

“We don’t want to take things away from people, we don’t want giveaways, we don’t want handouts. We just want some help.

“We want to keep the family together and protect the family.”

While the couple claim they paid their rent to Jigsaw Property Services. However, a spokesman for the landlord said: “We have managed the property for a short time, but we are no longer renting the property.”

In a statement, a Bradford Council spokesman said: “The violation Mr. Westfall appears to be referring to is related to the building permit rather than the building codes. This was obtained from the owner of the property in 2018 in order to expand the house.The work carried out exceeded the approved level and resulted in an unauthorized increase in the total height of the property.

“Since the start of work, three separate subsequent building applications for a raised roof have been submitted. These applications were all rejected and an appeal by the client to the government’s building inspector against the decision was rejected on May 28, 2020.

“In view of this, and since the owner failed to remedy the breach, a writ of execution was issued asking him to carry out the work in accordance with the approved building permit or to demolish the unauthorized work. No legal remedy was lodged against the enforcement order and therefore it should have been complied with by 08/18/2021.

“With regard to the relocation of Mr. Westfall and his family, Mr. Westfall and his family were assessed by the local authority’s Housing Options Service under the 2017 Homeless Reduction Act.

“The apartment selection officer is currently examining suitable relocation options in private and social housing. This also includes the provision of two residential units next to each other or in the immediate vicinity.

“If Mr. Westfall becomes homeless before the eviction period expires, the municipality is legally obliged to offer a temporary apartment to one of our contracted providers in order to support Mr. Westfall and his family with this move.

“The Council is currently preparing legal documents to extend the current January 26, 2022 deadline to have additional time to find suitable housing for Mr Westfall and his family. He will receive these documents in the next seven days. “

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