No more sleeping on the sofa as siblings finally bag flat

Siblings who have spent a year battling for a council flat have finally secured one. Leah and brothe

Leah and brother Mathew Thorpe are thrilled to have a new flat Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A brother and sister "trapped" in a one bed council flat have been handed the keys to their new home after an 18-month wait.

Mathew Thorpe, 33, will no longer have to sleep on his sofa once he and his 16-year-old sister Leah move in to their new Bull Close two-bed flat in a matter of weeks.

Since April last year, Leah has been living with her older brother in north Norwich after becoming estranged from their mother - taking his old room while he sleeps in the living room.

Siblings who have spent a year battling for a council flat have finally secured one. Leah and brothe

Leah and brother Mathew Thorpe Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The pair were added to Norwich City Council's housing register once a court order proved the arrangement was "permanent".

Most of the time Mr Thorpe's meticulous bidding left him ninth or 10th in the queue - with the whole thing getting "incredibly stressful" the longer the pair remained "trapped".

He was told his application would be backdated to the date Leah moved in when the court order was obtained, but the council reneged on this promise - leaving him fearful it'd be "years" before they could move out.

At the time the council said: "To make sure the city’s limited amount of social housing is used to meet our high level of housing need, we ask all applicants to provide evidence that their living arrangements are permanent."

Siblings who have spent a year battling for a council flat have finally secured one. Leah and brothe

Leah and brother Mathew Thorpe Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

But happily on October 28, he received a text from the council saying he'd finished first for a flat in Bull Close. 

Mr Thorpe explained: "I can't quite get my head around how it's all worked, if I'm honest.

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"I got a text from the council's Home Options scheme saying I'd finished first. I'm confused, but I'm not complaining.

Mathew's has to keep his clothes in the living room - which is also his bedroom

In their current flat, Mathew has to keep his clothes in the living room - which is also his bedroom - Credit: Mathew Thorpe

"It's really spacious in the new flat, and it should be about six weeks until we can move in.

"I'm super excited and so is Leah.

"Since Leah moved in neither of us have had any privacy. The other day I was just sitting in the living room when one of her friends popped her head round the front door asking where she was. I got a bit of a shock, if I'm honest.

"We've been living on top of each other for so long now."

The pair's living room double-functions as Mathew's bedroom, making the place extremely cramped

The pair's living room in their current flat double-functions as Mathew's bedroom, making the place extremely cramped - Credit: Mathew Thorpe


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