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Archway couple say they can’t adopt because council hasn’t fixed leak – after 18 months

PUBLISHED: 14:47 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 07 December 2017

Stephen and Melanie Thorne catch the drips from their leaking ceiling. Picture: Polly Hancock

Stephen and Melanie Thorne catch the drips from their leaking ceiling. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A couple say their wish to adopt is being held up because the town hall hasn’t fixed a leak from the flat above theirs for 18 months – leaving the spare bedroom uninhabitable.

Stephen and Melanie Thorne want to adopt but say the leak is preventing them from getting started with the application. Picture: Polly HancockStephen and Melanie Thorne want to adopt but say the leak is preventing them from getting started with the application. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hoping to become adoptive parents, Stephen and Melanie Thorne moved back home to Archway six months ago after four years in the Middle East.

The tenants who had been living in their Salisbury Walk flat had endured a leak from the council flat upstairs for a year. So Stephen called the town hall, hoping bosses would get it sorted and they could get the flat ready for an adoption bid.

But six months on, that hasn’t happened and the couple are furious at the hold-up. They say they have been told by an adoption agency that as it stands their home would not pass a health and safety inspection.

“We’ve gone up and down the whole gamut of emotions,” said Stephen. “We’re now making a complaint about the complaints team at the council. They don’t know who is doing which job on which day.

“You phone up and say someone was meant to be coming out to see you and they have no record of it. Then someone turns up half an hour later when you’ve gone out.

“We have got our hands tied. We have been looking at getting solicitors involved but it is exceptionally expensive.”

Melanie added: “We are absolutely fuming at Islington Council.

"I don’t think they care that we are trying to adopt. We can’t move on with our lives – we can’t start the process."

Melanie Thorne

“I don’t think they care that we are trying to adopt. We can’t move on with our lives – we can’t start the process.”

A council spokeswoman apologised for the lengthy delay but said the leak wouldn’t stop the couple from adopting.

She said: “We take housing repairs very seriously and we’re sorry that this problem has been ongoing for so long. We are arranging access to the flat above so that we can do the necessary work to fix the problem.

“We welcome applications from prospective adopters and would not reject an application to adopt due to a leak in the home.”

But the initial decision on whether to approve applications rests with the adoption agency – in this case CoramBAAF in Bloomsbury. The agency states in its template assessment of prospective parents that homes should be “in good decorative order”.

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