An upset dad says he is worried for his children’s future after being told they are to be evicted from St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell.
Dawid Sohling (30) said he had been told on the phone a fortnight ago that himself, wife Joanna (29), son Oskar (4) and daughter Wiktoria (2) would have to move.
It follows, as the Peterborough Telegraph exclusively revealed, a deal made by Peterborough City Council with a property firm which is evicting all 74 tenants on the site, many of whom have young children.
The council will use the vacated properties as temporary accommodation as it seeks a solution for the large growth in homelessness in the city.
The PT has previously reported that the authority is expecting an overspend of at least £1.2 million this financial year after being forced to put up homeless families in a Travelodge due to a shortage of available hostels and B&B accommodation.
Mr Sohling said he has been told on the phone that he will be evicted, but he has not been given a date yet.
He added: “They called me two weeks ago. I asked them why we had to leave and they said, ‘it’s too dangerous, too old’ and that they have to do some changes.
“I have lived here seven years and I’ve never had a problem like being late with the rent.
“They give my home to the homeless and make me homeless - it’s strange.
“We are looking for some places in Parnwell and Dogsthorpe because it’s not far from my son’s school.
“I’m upset and scared about my children and the future. They tell me we definitely have to move out so I asked when?
“They said ‘we can’t give a time or date at the moment but everyone has to leave’.
“I’m very worried it’s going to be wintertime. I asked my friends but no one can help.’
Another resident at St Michael’s Gate, who does not wish to be named, is also having to move out of the estate with her daughter who is nearly four.
She said: “We found a house and we will be renting in Cardea - I’m looking forward to it.
“We received a letter at the end of August giving us two months to leave. We were told it was to refurbish everything inside.
“It was a shock at first and we are sad because we have been here for six years and it’s our daughter’s home and she does not want to move.”
Peterborough City Council says it agreed a three-year lease with Stef and Philips, with a break clause at the end of the second year, for St Michael’s Gate to be used as temporary accommodation for homeless families at a cost of £966,337 per year.
However, a spokeswoman said the council found out yesterday (Tuesday, October 4) that it was not Stef and Philips which is evicting families but a firm called Paul Simon Magic Homes Investments.
On Tuesday the firm told the PT it would not be commenting on the story then said someone would call back later that day.
After no call was received, the PT rang back today (Wednesday) and was told there would be “no comment whatsoever.”
Shaz Wasim, business development director at Stef and Philips, told the PT the firm would be the managing agent for the properties, taking care of maintenance, and that it had no role in the evictions.
Adrian Chapman, service director for adults and communities for the council, said if the council did not use the properties then they would be rented out to another organisation, most likely another council.
He added: “It would be foolish of the council to take this approach when it has such a high need.”
The PT is running a series of interviews with families and individuals who are facing eviction from St Michael’s Gate (see below).