Help us keep our family home

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'Why won't Derby Homes let me move back into my family home?'

Stephen Sweeney is devastated that he can't move in after his mother died.

A Sinfin family is devastated at the thought of losing their "immaculate" family home of nearly 50 years. The Sweeney family say they are stuck in a "nightmare" situation after the death of former tenant Val Sweeney, who died at home in Shakespeare Street, Sinfin. Val's son Stephen Sweeney now wants to move into the three-bedroom council home, and vacate his three bedroom council house in nearby Macaulay Street, Sinfin. However, according to the family, Derby Homes have refused Mr Sweeney permission to move into the empty property, because neither tenant was on the exchange list before Mrs Sweeney unexpectedly passed away. Mrs Sweeney brought up a family of four children in the home which she built up to have an "award-winning garden". Her daughter, Wendy Stokes, is struggling to come to terms with the prospect of losing the house, just three weeks after losing her mum, who died aged 69 on Monday, October 8. The 43-year-old said: “It is absolutely heartbreaking, it would be like losing her all over again. The house was mum‘s pride and joy, and the thought of emptying the house breaks all our hearts. “All four siblings were brought up there and we are still congregate there now. It is our family meeting point, where we spend Christmas together. “I could understand Derby Homes if we just wanted the house over sentimental value, but they are getting a three bedroom council house from just two streets away in return. It beggars belief, I don’t understand it. “Admittedly, they were not on the exchange list, but why should they have been, we didn’t expect mum to pass away." Stephen, 48, who has lived in his council house for more than 20 years, grew up in the family home and at one point lived there with fiancé Angela Simmonds, 44. Wendy described how well admired Mrs Sweeney’s house and in particular garden was. She said: “When council workers came to work on the property, they couldn’t believe that it wasn’t private, they kept asking mum, ‘are we at the right house?’. “People walking past used to stop and look at the front garden, where mum would sit on her ‘Jack and Jill’ seat and admire it. “She spent so much of her time in the summer house so it will be so upsetting to take it down.” Wendy says she will not give up the family home without a fight. She said: “We will fight until the end to keep her lovely home.”

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