A three-year-old girl who is the youngest council tenant in Milton Keynes has prompted a controversy among her neighbours.
Little Sapphire was awarded the legal tenancy of a house on Fletcher’s Lakes Estate after her mum Sara died tragically of cancer last November.
Her dad Stephen, who was separated from the mum, was awarded custody through the courts and moved back into the family home as trustee to Sapphire’s tenancy.
But 45 furious neighbours in the cul-de-sac have petitioned the council criticising its decision to make a toddler the tenant.
They say the tenancy should have gone to Sapphire’s grandmother, who lived at the property and nursed Sara through her illness.
She has now been evicted and is now homeless and being forced to sofa surf, they say.
“It was Sara’s dying wish that her mum stay in the house and look after Sapphire. How can it be right for a three-year-old girl to be made the official tenant and for her grandma to be thrown out?” said one.
“We do not think the council has acted in the child’s best interests and we want the dad moved from this house,” she added.
Stephen, who has asked for his surname not to be revealed, slammed the neighbours’ action as heartless.
“I spent £6,000 through the family courts to get custody of my little girl. At the time I was living in a flat, which wasn’t suitable to bring her up in,” he said
“It was agreed by all the officials concerned that it was best I moved back into the house and the tenancy be put into Sapphire’s name. Some of the neighbours are just spiteful and out to make trouble,” he added.
Stephen is also bringing up his six-year-old son, who is from a previous relationship, in the house.
Meanwhile Sara’s other three children have gone to live with their father in another county.
A council spokesman said: “This is a sad case. However the Court awarded custody to the father. The father holds the tenancy in Trust for her and it is not unusual for a child to be made the tenant in these circumstances.”