Paralysed Islington woman’s battle to come home

A PARALYSED woman is confined to a hospice – because Islington Council bosses haven’t found a ground floor flat.

Bernadette Bazzoni, 51, cannot come home because her council flat in Steadman Court, on the Redbrick Estate, off Old Street, Finsbury, is on the first floor and there is no lift.

But underneath her apartment, there is a ground-floor flat lying empty.

Mrs Bazzoni’s family is now begging Islington Council to let them have the empty flat – and neighbours have rallied to her support by signing a 1,000-strong petition.

Husband Tony Bazzoni, 51, a delivery driver, said: “It’s got three bedrooms and we have three bedrooms at the moment. But because there will be only two of us living there, they don’t want to give us a three-bedroom flat.

“But she will need a bedroom on her own, I will need a bedroom, and she will have to have a carer – so we will need three bedrooms. It’s ridiculous that they are saying no.”

Mrs Bazzoni, a grandmother-of-four who worked in the City, suffered a fractured skull and two blood clots on the brain when she fell down the stairs of her home in January.

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She managed to pull through and after nine months in three different hospitals, she has now been discharged to a hospice – although she is still paralysed and needs round-the-clock care.

Mr Bazzoni is determined to bring her home as soon as she is able to breathe unaided.

He said: “I want to get her home. It may even help her recovery.”

Peter Muswell, chairman of the Redbrick Tenant Management Organisation, has branded it an “extremely bad case of local council bureaucracy and red-tape”.

He said: “Doctors confirm that familiar surroundings, faces and noises can only assist in the recovery process, but should we bend the rules and make an exception to housing allocations policy on this occasion? Of course we bloody well should.”

Islington Council insists there are other reasons why the empty flat may not be suitable besides the fact that it has three bedrooms, such as it being a two-floor maisonette.

Councillor James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said: “This is an absolute tragedy and we want to get the family back together as soon as possible.

“We need to make sure Homes for Islington and the council work together to find the most suitable property for the family.”