Simon and Jodie Taylor’s dream of swapping their two- bedroom home for a bigger one to avoid their four children having to share a room every other weekend is being held up by red tape, they say.
Mrs Taylor has lived in the Collingbourne Ducis home she rents from Wiltshire Rural Housing Association for almost six years.
It was adequate just for her and her two sons Tyler, six, and Ethan two, until her new
partner Peter, to whom she is engaged, moved in.
Mr Taylor has two daughters, Isabella, seven, and Sophie, three, and he has custody of them every other week from Thursday to Monday and for half of their school holidays. This means the two boys and two girls have to sleep in two sets of bunk beds in one small bedroom.
Mrs Taylor has made contact with an elderly couple in a three- bedroom housing association home in the adjacent village of Ludgershall, three miles away, where her older son goes to school already.
The senior citizens had sought a smaller property to downsize and were looking forward to a straightforward swap.
The pensioners’ housing association, Sarsen, is satisfied with the proposed swap, but Wiltshire Rural Housing Association says it can’t go ahead.
The association says its homes in Spring Meadow, Colling-bourne Ducis, can only go to people with connections with the village and chief executive Gillian Shell told the Gazette this was a planning stipulation when the homes were built.
Mrs Shell said it was up to Mrs Taylor to prove she had tried to find someone already living in the same village or with a connection with Collingbourne Ducis with whom to swap.
Only when she has proved there is no-one in the village or with past connections with the village will WRHA consider the exchange of homes to go ahead.
Mrs Shell told the Gazette the Spring Meadow homes were allowed to be built as a planning exception against building in the countryside, providing they were for local families or people with local connections.
“We are restricted as to who can live in these houses,” she said. “I accept this can be restrictive but the whole idea in the first place was to provide homes for local people.”
Mrs Taylor said: “It’s ridiculous because this other couple who are happy to do the swap only live in the next village, three miles away, where they have lived for 34 years.
“I have asked all the people in three-bed houses here, but none of them want to swap to a smaller home.”