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Iraq war hero hits out over 'unfit' council home in Swansea

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 06, 2012

Terry, Amanda, Alister and Archie Hewitt

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AN Iraq hero says people in the former war zone live in better mud huts than the council home his family has been offered in Swansea.

Terry Hewitt moved to the city with his 21-year-old wife Amanda and two sons Alister, 3, and Archie, 1, after leaving The Queen’s Royal Hussars to spend more time with his family.

The 30-year-old former trooper, who served nine years in the Army on tours to Iraq and Kosovo, labelled the Clydach property he was offered as sub-standard, especially compared to the married quarters where he had been living in Paderborn, Germany.

Swansea Council has now apologised to the family over problems with the repairs and pledged further work would be carried out.

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But Mr Hewitt said: “I’ve seen better mud huts in Iraq. Obviously coming from a military background I’m used to everything being immaculate, but the house in Clydach is not to a minimum standard — I was surprised.

“My wife Amanda started crying when she saw the property.

“After we had the email about the house in Tyle Teg, Clydach, we thought it was going to be really nice but it was just a big shock.”

Mr Hewitt said he first got in touch with Swansea Council about housing his family three months ago and was pleased at their quick response in finding a property.

But he claims he wasn’t given the key to the property straight away and despite promises repairs would be carried out and that the home would be offered a fresh lick of paint nothing was done.

Mr Hewitt added: “The council said all the floors were going to be levelled and all the walls were going to be plastered and painted. “It was horrible — all the walls were covered in artex, it had sharp pieces on the walls which weren’t safe for the children.

“In the kitchen we only had three cupboards so we are going to have to get some more. There was no painting done and the walls still need plastering.

“All the walls needed fixing — where the wall units were ripped down there were holes there.

“The lounge still had the old wallpaper up held by sticky tape and there was no carpet on the floor.

“There was no gas and electricity and we had to wait just over a week for the electrician to do a safety check.

“Repairs are needed in all of the bedrooms as there are holes in the skirting boards where the plaster is coming off and there are cracked tiles in the bathroom.”

The family say they are having to stay with Amanda’s Brynhyfryd-based godmother Sally Aston for now but desperately need to move before Christmas.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help is aiding the family.

A Swansea Council spokesman added: “We worked closely with Mr and Mrs Hewitt to re-house them following his discharge from the Army. There have been problems with some repairs, so we’ve apologised and agreed to carry out more works at the property.

“There was a misunderstanding about the redecoration of the property when it was offered. We don’t usually decorate properties but Mr and Mrs Hewitt have been given decoration vouchers to help them decorate the house.

“Additional works at the property will be completed as soon as possible and we’ll continue to offer Mr and Mrs Hewitt all the support we can.”

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  • Neathboy234  |  December 11 2012, 5:52PM

    More and more people seem to play the sympathy card these days. And as for teenage mothers, well don't start me off on that lot lol

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  • Jiffy  |  December 11 2012, 4:02PM

    If this bloke needed a bit of help, he should have stayed in his well paid job, where his every needs were catered for.

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  • maxmin  |  December 11 2012, 2:43PM

    Kaiser, Well I wish you a Merry Christmas anyway - and just hope you never find yourself in a situation where you could do with a bit of help!

    |   -5
  • Kaiser_Macsen  |  December 11 2012, 2:38PM

    maxmin Excellent news. All they need now are servants to do the cooking, cleaning, take the kids to and from school etc. Mr & Mrs Hewitt will then be free to spend even more time in the pub.

    |   5
  • maxmin  |  December 11 2012, 1:46PM

    I see todays EP carries the story that Neathboy CLM AH has been anxious to read, about people rallying round to help this family.

    |   -4
  • Neathboy234  |  December 09 2012, 3:44PM

    Gwyddno I look forward to reading all about it. lets see people put the money where their mouth is. Words are cheap as they say!

  • maxmin  |  December 09 2012, 3:01PM

    Gwyddno, then you should read the post and find out. Neathboy has stated many times that people in uniform are to stupid to think for themselves, I assume as Sgt Labalaba was in uniform he thinks that about him as well - many others don't!

    |   -6
  • Neathboy234  |  December 09 2012, 2:47PM

    Jiffy yes I've seen these programs as well that u speak about. To be honest i think it's the main reason that these soldiers find it so difficult to adapt to society afterwards.

    |   -1
  • Gwyddno  |  December 09 2012, 2:47PM

    If anyone wishes to re-decorate and fit carpets in the Hewitt's house for nothing, they could contact the EP newsdesk. I've no idea what the deeds of others has to do with it.

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  • Jiffy  |  December 09 2012, 1:38PM

    The 'secret war' in Oman. So secret, that Sgt Labalaba never received the award he was due. The war was fought to protect the oil, to keep it from the Russians. If it had been about freeing the Omanis, the previous Sultan, who'd kept his people in abject poverty whilst sitting on £millions from oil revenues would have been deposed much earlier than he was. I've watched a few of the 'fly on the wall', war in Afghanistan programmes recently. Despite the front line soldiers facing death and injury every day, all of the soldiers interviewed have admitted how much they are enjoying the fighting. They love the adrenaline rush, they look forward to the next time. Most of us won't understand what they're on about. They certainly won't get it doing a bit of decorating.

    |   3