A FAMILY of seven are stuck in temporary accommodation nearly nine months after a blaze forced them to flee their home.

Paul and Deborah Wilson, and their five children, have still not moved back into their house in Bockingham Green, Pitsea, despite Basildon Council telling them repairs would only take three months.

It was later extended to six months, but the family are still living in temporary accommodation in Winstree, just across the road from Bockingham Green.

Their home was one of six which were ruled uninhabitable following the blaze in July.

It was sparked by a chip pan fire next door to the Wilsons, and spread through the timberframed homes.

Mr Wilson, 34, an engineer, said: “When the house caught fire, we had to stay at my mum’s for a month because it took the council so long to sort something out. There are seven of us, so it was quite a squeeze.

“We were happy they found us somewhere, but when your house catches fire because it is made of wood, the last thing you want is to be moved into another property which is the same.

“The council has not said much to us, so we just want to know what is going on. We were told the damage wasn’t too bad, so I don’t understand why the work is taking so long. There are houses being built behind us in Winstree which have already got roofs on after a few months.”

Other residents affected by the blaze have moved back, but the house where the fire started still remains uninhabitable.

The Wilsons are also the latest family to be caught out by a new council tax policy.

They have been asked to pay £600 towards council tax on the Bockingham Green home on top of the full amount of £1,200 for the Winstree property, although the council is looking into whether it can remove the charge.

Basildon Council said it hoped the Wilsons would be able to return home soon.

A spokesman said: “Internal works are complete, but the council’s contractors are installing a sprinkler system.

“It is anticipated the installation of the sprinkler system will be completed within the next two weeks."