We are homeless after being refused a house near a soap factory


Two women became homeless after refusing a social flat near a soap factory because they had sensitive noses.

Cherie Hitchens, 58, and Joanna Morrison, 63, have been living in temporary accommodation in Dorset for a year.

The couple both have multiple disabilities, including multiple chemical sensitivity, which makes them extremely sensitive to all chemical-type odors.

So when Dorset Council offered them a bungalow a mile from the Lush soap factory, they had no choice but to refuse.

Cherie told Dorset Live: “They evicted us because we said no to a permanent bungalow in Upton.

“We said no to it because it was right next to the roadway, there were a lot of Lush smells, a lot of people worked for Lush – we are allergic to scented products, they make us very sick.

“Also the problem with the bungalow was that they said if we didn’t stay there for five years we had to pay for all the handicap adaptations.”

Cherie and Joanna are both part-time wheelchair users.

Joanna also suffers from asthma and diabetes while Cherie also suffers from spinal stenosis, Graves’ disease and has recently recovered from cancer.

As of 2020, they were living together in Upton, but were moved to a hotel when the council-funded home became unavailable.

The two were evicted from their temporary accommodation on January 26 and stayed in a hotel using their own funds.

They were then moved to a temporary home for a year before being offered the new “unsuitable” bungalow.

Cherie said: “We had to do an assessment, their opinion and our opinion on why we couldn’t take the bungalow in Upton. We did it. They [the council] says you should have taken it.

“We looked in Devon, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Cornwall and Dorset, obviously, to start with. They’re driving us out of Dorset.

“We can’t go to places that have very well-known perfume shops and factories – we can’t get near them, and they’re everywhere.

“We looked at three properties out of a lot that I saw. We wanted three, but one landlord said, “no, housing assistance.”

“They believe what’s on TV – that we’re all scum and just tampering with the system.

“We’re not. It’s not our fault we had these crashes — it’s not our fault we have to rely on benefits. We rely on credit cards now – I’m almost maxed out.

Cherie claims the couple were evicted from their temporary home on January 26 and are now staying at a hotel out of their own pocket.

But once their money runs out, Cherie and Joanna will be homeless.

Cherie said: “They expect us to do couch surfing, they expect us to have friends and family. But they use scented products!

“We used to use scented products – we had nice incense sticks, you know? We couldn’t live there.

“[Joanna’s] suffered enough. She’s almost 64 — she doesn’t deserve this, we don’t deserve this. No disabled person deserves this – the way we are treated.

Luxurious factory in the UK.
The women said they could not go near “very well-known perfume shops and factories”.

Cherie added: ‘We were looking for a three bedroom detached bungalow, with a shower room, with a garage, no woodstoves, no VOC paint, not recently renovated, no new carpets and not near any roadways, factories or industrial areas. That’s what we want.

“It’s not easy – of course we are part-time wheelchair users, and I’m going to be paralyzed in a few years from my spinal cord narrowing.”

A spokesman for Dorset Council said: ‘The council is unable to go into the details of individual cases.

“However, there is a very clear legal procedure that the council must follow in order to offer residents a suitable property.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.


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