Delight and despair at St Michael's Gate during Peterborough Telegraph visit

Joy and anger - these were the mixed emotions when the Peterborough Telegraph visited homeless families at St Michael's Gate on Monday afternoon.

Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:00 am
St Michael's Gate resident Jemma Barron with her children Alicia (2), Malakye (5), Jaxon-Joe (6) and John (11). EMN-180918-091313009

The estate in Parnwell made national headlines two years ago after the PT revealed 72 of the 74 households were being evicted and replaced by homeless families in Peterborough.

This week the PT returned to St Michael’s Gate to hear the stories of the families living there now, and how they were finding the homes.

Mum of four Jemma Barron said she was originally offered a hostel in Huntingdon before being moved into a Peterborough hostel which she described as “disgusting”. She added: “To come here for me is brilliant. I think the house is lovely. We have not had any problems really.”

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St Michael's Gate resident Nicci Wells with her children Megan (10), Ethan (6) and Hayden (7). EMN-180918-091324009

Edward Bissell lives in his home with his wife and three kids who “love it”. He added: “I’ve had no problems. And we’ve got good neighbours.”

Nicci Wells was previously offered a Travelodge in Leicester.

She said her two sons now have to take tablets to stop them having asthma attacks at night, and that they have received letters from their doctor and school (which the PT has seen )which say for health reasons they should be a priority for a permanent home.

Nicci also said the house is freezing, adding: “Two weeks ago water came pouring out of the lights in the kitchen. I rang the emergency number. The woman on the phone said she would get maintenance out in the morning.

“I had to ring the fire brigade that night who came and fixed it. They said if an electrical heater was in the hallway it would have gone bang.”

Mum of four Lauren Turner’s house in Walton burned down through no fault of her own. She said she had to push back against council plans to send them to a hostel in Manchester.

When she moved into St Michael’s Gate she said there was black mould and her two-year-old could crawl under the gate. And like other residents she has seen big rats, but she said the house is now “nice” and that her children have space to play.

She said: “Everybody here has been through hell.”

The PT previously asked the council if it was sending families to Manchester. This was denied. After speaking to Lauren the PT asked for clarification on the denial, but the council has yet to respond. However, a spokesman said residents experiencing problems with their properties are urged to report these appropriately. Stef & Philips was offered the chance to comment.