Row over super-council-house created for family of 12

Neighbours of Tim Fisk, his partner, and their ten children, have signed a petition to protest against plans to build the family a super-council-house - by knocking two three-bedroom houses together.

Fisk insists they're just jealous. But is he right?
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The row

The Daily Mail reported that Fisk, an unemployed 43-year-old from Maidenhall, spoke out in defence of his new council house, after 84 neighbours signed a petition opposing the scheme.

He and his partner Mandy Ball, a 42-year-old stay-at-home mum, have an impressive brood between them. There are two older children who have moved out, plus Sadie (16), Daniel (14), Lauren (13), Callum (11), Kyle (10), Elektra-Mae (5), Serenity (4), Jayden (3), Starlight (2) and Neathus (11 months). Ball is also expecting another child in November.

According to the BBC, at the moment the family lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house. However, the neighbours in the adjoining house have moved out, and Ipswich Council has decided to knock the two homes together to create a six-bedroom super-council-house at a cost of £6,000. The neighbours claim it's a waste of money. The council says it's the most cost-effective solution.

Clearly it's an emotive issue.

Defence

Fisk explained to the Mail that he couldn't work, because he needed to care for Callum, who has serious learning difficulties, and Ball, who has suffered severe depression after losing a baby in childbirth in 2008. He added that it was no-one else's business how many children he and his partner had.

Certainly this sort of overcrowding is not something that any family should have to live with in the 21st century. Given that Callum needs a bedroom of his own because of his learning difficulties, at the moment there are only two bedrooms for the couple and nine other children. There are two sets of bunk beds in each bedroom, and the couple sleep in the lounge with their youngest.

However, there are those who argue that since the family moved in seven years ago they have had five children - so they created their own overcrowding problem.

Outcry

It's worth pointing out that this isn't the first time that large families on benefits have hit the headlines. There a fascination over these families, the money they have to live on, and the size of the houses required to squeeze them in.

In 2008 Harry Crompton and his wife Tracey were branded scroungers after appearing in Closer magazine. The Hull duo and their 10 children also live in two semi-detached houses knocked together, but at the time the reporters were more alarmed at the £32,656 the family received in benefits.

In 2010 it was the turn of Gary Bateman and Joanne Shepherd and their 12 children to hit the news. They were lambasted for their five bedroom council house and £30,000 a year in benefits.

Then in February this year Heather Frost was in the spotlight after Tewkesbury council decided to build a new six bedroom house for her, her 11 children, two grandchildren and her partner. It was part of a development, but a much larger plot was given over to the larger family.

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