Middlemore resident who 'had to' downsize after council's sell-off letter seeks compensation

Mr Dickinson now lives in a two-bed in Monksmoor where he has little room for his belongings, forcing him to store them in his shed.
Mr Dickinson now lives in a two-bed in Monksmoor where he has little room for his belongings, forcing him to store them in his shed.

A former resident of a Middlemore home earmarked by Daventry District Council for sale is considering legal action after he downsized when given two months' notice to leave by the authority.

George Dickinson, 65, was also forced to sell possessions and spend money on moving fees as a result.

After a scrutiny committee's investigation into the sell-off of the 30-home estate was presented to councillors and members agreed to ditch the plan given the seemingly-inevitable creation of a unitary authority in 2020.

Although good news for the families living in Pepperbox Hill, Hidcote Way and Stoneacre Close, for former resident George Dickinson it could signal the start of a compensation claim against the council.

Daventry District Council’s sell-off of 'lifetime' houses may make 30 families homeless
Residents ask Daventry District Council to postpone sell-off of 30 'lifetime' family homes

Decision on sale of Middlemore homes to be investigated by Daventry District Council committee

Mr Dickinson, 65, and his partner Marilena Biggins opted to move out of their three-bed Pepperbox Hill home after receiving a letter from the council informing residents it was going to sell-off homes individually, giving residents two months to make up their minds.

"We had to downsize massively," said Mr Dickinson, who now lives in a two-bed in Monksmoor where he has little room for his belongings. He currently has to squeeze belongings into his shed.

"We thought 'right, there's going to be 30 families going on to the local market which is already stretched. We might find our opportunities are limited and prices are high'.

"We felt we had to make the move."

In the wake of the council's letter, residents grouped together to fight the decision. Their efforts culminated in the scrutiny committee agreeing to investigate their situation and temporarily postpone the sale.

"We had no inclination there would be appeals," said Mr Dickinson.

"We contacted councillors but we didn't know how it would pan out."

"We were told there was virtually no chance of a reprieve. We were told to go and that's what we did."

In order to downsize Mr Dickinson had to give away "thousands of pounds" of property and possessions.

On top of that, the situation was taxing to him both physically and mentally particularly as he moved out in March when snowfall hit the area.

"The stress of it all is still affecting me now. I almost feel like it's a PTSD thing," he said.

Now Mr Dickinson is seeking some kind of compensation for the loss of furniture and property from the downsizing, as well as the moving costs.

He is considering taking his case to the county court where he believes his case will be solidified by several of the Middlemore families expressing the same belief that they were marketed the houses as 'homes for life'.

The scrutiny committee's report did recognise there had been some confusion around the term and expressed its frustration at not being able to access the TDECL website, which is no longer live (it's currently a shoe selling site).

"We wouldn't have taken the property if we knew it was a short-term thing. We planned to be there for many years and we were led to believe that would be the case," said Mr Dickinson.

"I know a lot of people in the estate so I can't have bad feelings towards them but I have had bad feelings towards the council and TDECL."

"I would not have taken that tenancy if there was any chance of them going up for sale," he added.