Doug Wheeler’s family have lived in a rural parish in Hart District for generations; Doug, his parents, grandparents and great grandparents all grew up in the village. He would love to continue living in this village among family and friends but his only option is to either move away or live in overcrowded accommodation close by.
He and his family currently live in a small two bedroom house in the area which is not big enough for their growing family. Doug’s two step-daughters share the first bedroom and he and his wife share the second bedroom with their 18 month old daughter. The two elder girls are going to be teenagers in a few years and their need for privacy is becoming more apparent.
They want the chance to be a proper family, Doug explains that it feels as though he and his family have to come and go in shifts. The family are currently on Hart District Council’s Housing Register as renting privately is not an option.
‘A whole months salary would be gone on renting a property privately in this area and we would have no security of tenure which we need especially because the children are in full time education in local schools’ says Doug.
Doug works as an Electrician and is active in the local community. He is a parish councillor and is currently talking to Hampshire County Council to make a piece of land a site of importance, giving future generations the opportunity to learn about plants and wildlife.
Doug recognises the need to enable young people to continue living in rural villages to keep these communities vibrant and healthy.
‘We need young people to keep the village healthy and moving but children cannot afford to buy a house’
Doug explains that young families are forced to move away leaving parents behind who need support. Doug visits his parents every morning to make sure they are okay and walk their dog.
‘My parents aren’t old but they rely on us to help them out and the reality is, they are going to get older and will rely on us more.’
Family networks living close by is important, young families need older relatives close by to help with childcare as many parents work full time. Doug explains that his parents are currently able to help out with childcare as they are not too far away.
‘We want my mum and dad to live close by, if there is an emergency mum can look after our baby’
Doug explains that his life in the parish is everything he has ever known, his hobbies and all his friends are there. To be able to move into an affordable property in the parish that is an adequate size for his family would be a dream come true for him.
‘We just want a family home’