DISTRAUGHT mum-of-five Hayley Morris says that her house is so small for her family that she nearly killed her baby.
The 35-year-old and her partner Kevin Reynolds, 54, are desperate to move out of their two-and-a-half bedroom house in Kingsway. They want to upsize to at least a four-bed house.
Hayley claims she is caught between a rock and hard place.
Many four-bedroom houses have a maximum capacity of six people, while five bedrooms must accommodate eight people – leaving Hayley’s family of seven high and dry.
Hayley and Kevin share a double bed with their six-month-old baby Frankie, while her disabled son Thomas, two, sleeps in a single bed in the same room. Hayley says she is jobless because of her severe heart condition.
Her son also suffers from a heart condition, says Hayley.
Her daughter Shyla, 12, squeezes into a tiny box room while her other daughters Louise and Lily share a bunk bed in another room.
Hayley said: “I was distraught the other day. I woke up to find the bed covers over Frankie’s face. I thought I had killed my baby. We have just got to get out of this house.”
When she asked for a bigger home, she told an operator the only safe place to put her baby would be in the bathroom, to which she says she was told: “If that’s what you have to do, my dear.”
But a spokesman for Gloucester City Council said that there are 145 households in Gloucester needing a four-bedroom house and in the last financial year only 11 have become available.
They added: “Properties are advertised with the maximum number of people that they can take.”
Hayley fears for her family’s safety after an incident in which her brother nearly died during a house fire when she was an eight-year-old girl living in White City.
She said: “I’ve got my double bed in front of the fire escape window just so we can squeeze a single bed in here too.
“I’m terrified of fire after what happened and there’s no chance we’d escape from that room.”
Hayley also says she tripped over her cramped furniture last week, leaving her with a leg injury.
This added to other health problems associated with an accident in 2006 in which she broke her spine in three places.
She said: “It just makes matters worse. It doesn’t do me any favours.”