Wrexham Council apologises after widow is told to quit house after husband’s death

Reporter:

Helen Davies

A COUNCIL has apologised for telling a pensioner she  would have to move out of her home after her husband died.

Retired hairdresser Pat White was told by Wrexham Council last week she would have to move out of the home on Beech Avenue in Gresford that she had shared with her husband Nev, 71, for 37 years.

The authority has now apologised for the blunder, which left a grieving Mrs White fearing she would be evicted.

Mr White died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital on May 18 from heart failure.

The council told Mrs White she would have to find somewhere else to live because the three-bedroom council house was in her husband’s name.

Speaking to the Leader last week, Mrs White said: “They said I’m going to be evicted from the house my husband was born in. I lived there for 37 years, my husband was born in the house.

“I’ve had all the heartache of my husband dying and then they drop this bombshell on me.

“My son and daughter haven’t got any room, so I can’t stay with them. I’ll be classed as homeless.”

Mrs White’s name had been on the house’s documents in the past, but she removed it when the pair had a disagreement.

“We had an argument years ago and I removed my name [from the agreement],” said Mrs White.

“We made up but I never got round to putting my name back on. Everyone has arguments. You shouldn’t be punished for them all these years later.”

The Leader then spoke to Wrexham Council, while the authority’s deputy leader, Cllr David Bithell, also approached officers demanding answers.

It was then that Mrs White was told the council had made a mistake and said she could stay in her home.

“I was absolutely terrified about losing my home,” said Mrs White.

“My friend spoke to Cllr Bithell about my situation and apparently he phoned the council in the afternoon and demanded that something be done.

“By tea-time two housing officers had called round and told me I wouldn’t have to move.

“It was such a relief as I have enough to upset me at the moment as I still haven’t buried my husband.

“I felt like a big load had been lifted off my shoulders. I’m just so grateful to Cllr Bithell for doing this, even though I’ve never met him, but I hope no-one else ever has to face the disgusting treatment I’ve had.”

Mr White, a retired bricklayer, was a popular member of the local community and a treasurer for Gresford Bowls.

“He was a very well liked man,” said Mrs White. “Everyone in the area knew him.”

Cllr Bithell said: “I asked officers in the housing department to investigate the complaint. I am aware that matters have now been resolved to Mrs White’s satisfaction.

“I have now asked the strategic directors to look into the processes we use to ensure this does not happen again.”

Fred Czulowski, landlord services manager at the council, said: “I am very pleased to say Mrs White will not be asked to leave her property and will be able to remain in her home.

“On this occasion an error has obviously been made and I will be working with staff to ensure that policies and procedures are fully understood to ensure this type of error does not happen again.

“I apologise for any distress caused.”

See full story in the Leader

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