A dad who refuses to move from a doomed tower block into another high rise or downsize to a one bed says he ‘feels sick’ about a council’s latest offer.
‘Isolated’ Ezekiel Hermon has been alone on the 11th floor of for a ‘painful’ seven months after turning down unsuitable accommodation.
The 46-year-old declined offers for single bedroom flats as they are too small for his four children to stay and refused to move to another ‘unfit’ high-rise after spending 25 years in his block in southern Birmingham.
But on Tuesday, the council put forward yet another offer for a two-bed flat inside a retirement tower block as it vowed to ‘do its best to rehouse’ him from his home in Druids Heath.
“I will turn it down,” Mr Hermon firmly told BirminghamLive, speaking of the latest offer to move into Harrison House.
“I just feel sick because they said they will not do it [offer the same accommodation] again and now they have. The council has offered me a retirement block again.”
The council says it has made ‘reasonable offers’ but will continue to look for ‘suitable alternatives’ for Mr Hermon in the hope he accepts one.
The authority is seeking possession of his two-bed flat to progress plans to demolish the tower block alongside others, as part of a £43million regeneration scheme.
The major redevelopment of the ‘neglected’ area will see six blocks torn down to make way for new, affordable housing.
But the process has come under fire from residents, with claims some have felt ‘pushed out of their homes’.
A campaign and petition, has already gathered 200 signatures, to find a ‘decent home for Ezekiel and all of Druids Heath’ as neighbours rally in support of one another.
It reads: “Some residents were lucky to find a property they were happy with.
“But more are unhappy: they have been made to move far away from schools, jobs and their families, or accept properties in poor condition,” the petition claims.
The campaign by The Druids Heath and Monyhull Forum is focused on finding a suitable two-bed property that meets the needs of Mr Hermon and his children, aged seven, nine, 12 and 14.
But it also asks to “pause the clearances on the Druids Heath estate until a rehousing policy has been reviewed and agreed with the residents”
Birmingham City Council said it was keen to highlight the ‘positive aspects’ of the Druids Heath redevelopment and staff were doing ‘their best to rehouse Mr Hermon’.
A spokesman for the authority said: “Although we are in the unfortunate position of having to seek possession of his tenancy as we have made reasonable offers of accommodation, in the interest of coming to an amicable solution, we are continuing to look for suitable alternative properties in line with Mr Hermon’s property size eligibility in the hope that he accepts one.”