11th hour reprieve saves mum from eviction

Family members who are not happy about being forced out of their home on Macleod Street in Nelson.'Photo Ben Parsons

Family members who are not happy about being forced out of their home on Macleod Street in Nelson.'Photo Ben Parsons

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A FAMILY was highly concerned about their mother because it was said she must move out of her house so it could be demolished.

The family was told they could be kicked out by a “sheriff” yesterday – but Lancashire County Council agreed not to do that and it was announced yesterday that no eviction would take place.

Mrs Halima Bibi (80) lives in an attractive house in Macleod Street, Nelson, on the end of a block which runs along Portland Street.

But she is not well and needs help. Her son Sharif Din, his wife Qamar and daughter Saabha stay with her there, and her daughter Kalsoom and Shamoona both go along to look after her each day.

The house and the rest of the block are to be demolished to provide more space for Whitefield’s new primary school on the old waterworks site.

Around 15 years ago it was decided that the whole area including this house would be demolished, but in the end houses in the area were saved by Government ruling. However, in the end permission was given to take down some blocks to provide more space for the school.

Mrs Bibi’s family have owned the house for almost 50 years. They fought plans over a Compulsory Purchase Order regarding the demolition, and won. But in the end they agreed that their mother should move from 46 Macleod Street to Number 48, which is at the end of the other block across Portland Street and is being updated.

Recently, the family was told that their mother must move into a temporary single-bedroom home until Number 48 was completed. And they don’t feel that is right – because she has support 24 hours each day.

Daughter Kalsoom said: “We opposed the CPO twice and won twice.” And her brother Sharif said: “We agreed that if Number 48 was done for her needs she would move to that end.” But despite it not being finished, she was expected to move out, and he said: “We need two weeks to sort it out once it’s finished. There was a threat of a sheriff coming round to kick family out of the house. We were told January 17th.”

And Kalsoom said: “The council has suggested a one-bedroom flat for mother on her own until the house is ready. She needs somebody caring for her for 24 hours. They had promised to deal with my mum’s needs.”

But on Wednesday she spoke to Lancashire County Council and yesterday she said: “They have told us they are not going to go through with it at this moment in time and are having a meeting today to discuss it.”

And she added that she was meeting with Pendle Labour county councillor Mohammed Iqbal yesterday to discuss the issue. But county did yesterday confirm that no eviction was taking place.

Pendle Council had made it clear the house is in LCC’s CPO area and the borough council is acting as the county’s agents in this matter. The CPO on the property was made in 2010.

Mr Iftekhar Bokhari, Pendle’s senior regeneration officer, said: “We’ve been in regular contact with Mrs Bibi and her family for over 18 months, and they have been aware of the deadlines for the property being bought by LCC through a CPO.

“They’ve also known since mid-December, 2012, that LCC required possession of 46 Macleod Street on or before January 17th.

“Since 2010, Mr Din, acting on behalf of his mother, has had sufficient opportunity to negotiate with us to buy alternative properties either within Whitefield or outside of the area.

“Currently, Mr Din is looking to buy another property we have offered him at 48 Macleod Street. But he has only recently formally confirmed to us that he does indeed want to buy it.

“We are sympathetic to the family’s needs. As an interim arrangement, we have offered Mrs Bibi sheltered accommodation we feel suits her needs where she could live until the purchase of 48 Macleod Street is complete. However, the family have declined this offer.”