MOVING into a council house ahead of Christmas was a 'dream come true' for one Oxford family.

Victoria Lenthall, 27, and her family, moved into a newly finished council house at Barton Park on December 20 and shared Christmas in their first home together.

Previously, she had been sharing a two-bedroom council-owned flat with her husband and three children in Plowman Tower, Northway, which she said had been cramped.

But now the family has moved into a new home on the new estate north east of the Oxford ring road, Ms Lenthall said: "It is a dream come true for us. We really needed the space."

The family is among 19 households who are set to be accommodated in homes made newly available for council tenants at the Barton Park development.

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Ms Lenthall had been trying to move from her former home in Plowman Tower for four years before a new council house became available.

She said: "I waited, I hoped and I prayed something would come up and this time I was successful and that was that. All I say to others waiting is: don’t lose hope."

She said the move would benefit her eldest daughter Lilian, 7, who had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition earlier in the year.

Living in Plowman Tower had seen the family living 'on top' of one another said Ms Lenthall, currently on maternity leave looking after her four-month old son James.

Oxford Mail:

Victoria Lenthall. Picture: Ed Nix

She added: "We were all basically in one room and on top of each other in the flat. I was pregnant through lockdown and the only way I stayed sane is because we went for walks each day to get out and about."

Ms Lenthall said in the short time her family had lived the new three-bedroom home at Barton Park, she had already noticed a difference in her daughter's behaviour as a result of having her own room.

The mum of three said her family had been serenaded into their new home ahead of the festive season by high tenor singer Jonathan Ansell, formerly of the four-piece vocal group G4.

Mr Ansell has been responding to requests for doorstep serenades via social media in recent months.

Ms Lenthall said: "We had Christmas here. The first Christmas in our first home."

Ms Lenthall's decision to speak publicly about her move into a new social-rented property is a rare one.

READ AGAIN: Oxford City Council readies 19 new houses for social rent

Council tenants or those waiting for a council house often prefer not to talk about their lives for fear of stigma attached to social rent.

As of the start of December 2020, there were 2,355 households on Oxford City council’s housing waiting list.

Among them were families like Ms Lenthall's, who were already council tenants but in unsuitable homes waiting for somewhere appropriate.

The council has pledged to build more council houses on land available throughout the city as a means to reducing this waiting list.

It also requires all new developments of more than 10 homes to provide 50 per cent affordable homes or pay money towards them elsewhere.

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