Family’s delight at new five-bedroom accessible  home

15 Mar 2024

Natasha, Archie and Brett Callaby, Ian Hamilton, centre, Cllr Richard O'Driscoll, West Suffolk ward member for Exning Cllr Jon London, representatives of West Suffolk Council and the site team.

A West Suffolk family are preparing to move in to a new five-bedroom fully accessible house after waiting more than five years for a home suitable for them and their disabled son.

Natasha and Brett Callaby have been on the housing register for five years, waiting patiently for a home large enough for them and their six children while also giving 10-year-old Archie, who has a rare form of severe epilepsy and relies on a wheelchair, the facilities, space and independence he needs.

Mr and Mrs Callaby have been living in Bury St Edmunds with Archie, who is non-verbal, and his siblings, Lilly-Rose, 14, Niall, 12, Myia, six, and four-year-old twins Ronnie and Roman, but their current home is too small for them and it is impossible for Archie to use his wheelchair inside.

They are one of 27 families in West Suffolk in need of a larger house of four or more bedrooms that can also meet their mobility needs but there have been no new homes built to meet this criteria.

When Persimmon Homes Suffolk heard about the issue through its discussions with the strategic housing team at West Suffolk Council, it set to work designing and building a wheelchair-accessible five-bedroom home, complete with a ground floor wet room, at their Chancery Park development in Exning. 

The Callaby family successfully bid for the property through Home-Link and are now preparing to move into the new home.

Mrs Callaby said: “Words cannot express how grateful we all are to Persimmon for creating our new family home. As Archie grows up, accessible facilities will become more important and this home has come at the right time for us.

“Relocating to Exning will be a change for us all, but with more space that fits our needs, it’s safe to say that we cannot wait to move in. The area is quieter but still well connected, meaning we can travel to Archie’s appointments at Great Ormond Street Hospital with the same amount of ease as before.”

Disability charity Leonard Cheshire has found that one in four disabled individuals are struggling with inaccessible homes. This new purpose-built home means one less family will have to face these mobility challenges.

Mrs Callaby added: “With Archie’s mobility difficulties, Persimmon has kindly converted the garage into a wet room which will mean bathroom facilities are in much easier reach.

“Archie also absolutely loves the outdoors but in our current home the garden isn’t quite fit for purpose so having a garden designed with someone in a wheelchair in kind that he can access more freely is just wonderful.”

The project also meets Persimmon Homes commitment to bringing quality homes to the area that are both sustainable and suited to the needs of its residents.

West Suffolk Council, which manages the housing register in the district, praised Persimmon, holding their work up as an example for other developers to follow.

Cllr Richard O’Driscoll, Cabinet Member for Housing at West Suffolk Council said: “It has been very challenging trying to find a home to help Natasha, Brett and their family that will meet their specific needs and help them give the best access, care and quality of life to Archie. 

“They are one of many families who have been on our housing register for years because the housing doesn’t exist that is both large enough and meets their additional support needs.

“Our strategic housing team regularly speaks to developers and housing providers about these needs. So, we are delighted that Persimmon has built a house to cater for one of these families and that following its advertisement on Home-Link, the house has been awarded to the Callabys.

"It’s fantastic to hear that Permission is looking at its other sites across West Suffolk with a view to delivering more of these larger homes that can meet the additional needs of other families on our register. It’s a great example that we hope other developers will follow. In the meantime, we wish the Callabys all our very best as they settle into their new home.”

Ian Hamilton, Managing Director at Persimmon Homes Suffolk, said: “What we do is about so much more than building homes. It’s about making sure that they are planned and developed with those who are going to live in them in mind throughout the whole process. That includes giving considerable thought to our residents who may have additional medical needs.

“We are excited to have been able to bring this customised home to life. We know it will make a huge difference to Archie’s quality of life and that of his family, and we wish them the very best in their new home.”

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