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Families' Housing Fear

TWO STRANRAER families, living in fear that their first-floor flats will collapse, may have to wait months for alternative accommodation.

John Simpson Avenue residents Lawrence McDonald and Fiona Penter and their neighbour Morag Proctor have been put on a waiting list by Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) as subsidence continues to take hold of their building.

The tenants had been offered temporary lodgings while the flats are repaired, but feel so traumatised by the living conditions that their only option is a permanent move.

The property, situated on a hillside, has cracks along the walls, tilting floors, windows that refuse to shut and damaged door frames, to name some of the effects caused by subsidence.

DGHP has offered to re-house the residents, but only on a like-for-like basis within the Dick's Hill area, which is likely to leave the John Simpson Avenue residents with an anxious wait. Lawrence said:

"DGHP seem to think we're trying to get moved into a better area, but we're not, we like it here and get on well with our neighbours. We just want to feel safe.

"Given the turn-over in this area we could have months to wait before we're moved out and that's not good enough considering the state of the place."

The couple say they are so concerned about the floors giving way beneath them during the night that they rarely sleep, while their 12-year-old daughter now sleeps on the livingroom sofa as her bedroom becomes more precarious. Lawrence said:

"It's as if two parts of the floor are trying to break away from each other and the whole house shakes every time the wind gets up."

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