Dying West Norfolk woman pleads for accessible home

MP Henry Bellingham visits resident Rebecca Wickens. at South Lynn who has a terminal illness.FLtoR Mark von Haartman ( MD of The Care Company ) Sally Hutchinson ( Carer ) Rebecca Wickens .Henry Bellingham MP. ANL-160213-103051001
MP Henry Bellingham visits resident Rebecca Wickens. at South Lynn who has a terminal illness.FLtoR Mark von Haartman ( MD of The Care Company ) Sally Hutchinson ( Carer ) Rebecca Wickens .Henry Bellingham MP. ANL-160213-103051001

A housebound woman with terminal cancer says she is living in a third floor flat because she hasn’t been given a home that better suits her needs.

Rebecca Wickens moved into her property in Morleys Leet two years ago before she was diagnosed with an incurable form of the disease.

But, even though she has to be carried out of the building in order to attend regular medical appointments, she claims she has not been offered a suitable alternative.

She said; “I can’t get down the stairs. It’s no quality of life. Since last April, the only times I’ve been out is when I’ve been to hospital.”

And MP Sir Henry Bellingham pledged to raise her case with local officials during a meeting last Friday.

He said: “I think there is an issue there. Very often it’s getting the collaboration between social services and those who are providing the care, but I will take up your housing case.”

He said he would also contact her local borough councillors, Charles Joyce and Gary McGuinness.

Rebecca, 45, was diagnosed with a terminal form of bone cancer last year.

Although the flat she lives in is owned by Freebridge Community Housing, West Norfolk Council administers the allocation of housing in partnership with Freebridge and other social providers.

Rebecca said she had been offered an alternative property, a bungalow, in North Lynn.

But she said that was unsuitable because it has a second bedroom that she doesn’t need, meaning she would then have to pay the bedroom tax.

She added: “It was full of damp. My immune levels are low. It would be no good for my health. My GP has said that.”

Ideally, Rebecca would prefer to be moved to a ground floor flat in the area where she lives now.

She said: “I love it here. It’s lovely and quiet. I want to make the most of the time I’ve got left.”

A council spokesman said: “People accepted onto the Housing Register are able to bid for appropriate properties when they are advertised each week through West Norfolk Homechoice.

“WNH is designed to give applicants a choice of where they wish to live and to make sure that those in the greatest need are given the greatest priority.

“However, the ability to move to a new home is dependent on suitable properties being available.

“Whilst we cannot discuss any details of this specific case, Ms Wickens can get in touch if she wishes to discuss her case further with us.”