Denny couple fear being forced out of home

Pearl and Peter Petrie are fighting to stay in their home. Picture: Michael Gillen (141716C)
Pearl and Peter Petrie are fighting to stay in their home. Picture: Michael Gillen (141716C)
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An elderly couple say Falkirk Council is trying to force them out of their home because it isn’t energy efficient enough.

Peter and Pearl Petrie have lived in the Old Janitors House behind Denny Primary School for 27 years. Peter (72) was the janitor for 18 years.

The couple, who both suffer from serious health problems, claim they were told when they took over the house they could stay until they were “carried out in a box”.

However, they say Falkirk Council now wants them out.

The council said this week that the house fails to meet Scottish Housing Quality Standards. It estimates it would cost over £50,000 to bring it up to standard – a cost it says it is unwilling to pay as it doesn’t represent “best value”.

Scheduled repair and upgrading has been suspended for the time being.

Pearl (69) said: “This has been our home for 27 years and we were told when we were offered the house it would be ours until we were carried out in a box.

“The whole thing has been very stressful. We feel the council is trying to pressure us to leave. They are saying the house isn’t energy efficient enough and it would cost too much to sort it.”

Denny councillor Brian McCabe said: “I think the council is showing a lack of respect to elderly people. I’m sure there are ways around this if the council was willing.”

The council said the house needs £25,000 of external improvements and £5000 of structural repairs. It would cost £10,000 to replace cable, £2000 in access allowance £2000, £3000 to replace and £7000 for new windows and doors.

The couple has refused the offer of a new home.

A council spokesman said: “Staff met with Mr and Mrs Petrie to discuss the practicality of re-housing them to a more suitable home. They have not been advised that the council intends to take action to end their tenancy.”