14/08/2014 16:52 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Couple With Seven Children Under Seven Want Bigger House - They Sleep In Just Two Bedrooms

Unemployed couple and seven kids demand bigger home after outgrowing two-bed council house

An unemployed couple have asked for a bigger council house because they say their two-bedroom home isn't big enough for them and their seven children.

David Stewart, 28, wife Lisa, 29, say they and their children, aged six to three months old, are living like sardines and fear the cramped and chaotic living conditions could affect the health of their children.

Four children share one of the rooms, while David and Lisa share with the other three. They actually have three bedrooms in their home on the Milnafua estate in Alness in the Scottish Highlands - but one of these has to be used as a storeroom.

Mr Stewart said he has been battling with the local council for years to get his family re-housed.

"I put in for an exchange five years ago but I knew these things took time and was prepared to be patient," he said.

"Later I put in a second application, widening the geographic area, because I felt it might increase our chances if we were willing to be housed in other places.

"Then I heard of a four-bedroom house becoming available locally and I went to the council to ask if I could be considered for it. I was shocked to be told they didn't even have an application from me. They said it must have gone astray in the post, but I didn't understand how that could happen twice.

"It's now five years since I put the first application in and in that time I have seen many other families moving into Milnafua, some from abroad, and getting houses very quickly.

"Because we are so cramped - one of the bedrooms is used for storage - there are nine of us sleeping in two bedrooms. We're like sardines.

"There are four kids in one room and three share a bedroom with myself and my wife. I suffer from chronic back problems for which I take several medications and I can't always manage the stairs. As there isn't a downstairs bedroom, I often have to sleep on the sofa.

"It's making me and my wife extremely depressed and the health visitor has told us it's not healthy for the kids either. We're very worried about them. It is so unfair."

He added: "I thought we would be out of the house at the beginning of the year and bought a few things while I had some pennies in my pocket, but that fell through so I have had to store the stuff in the third bedroom. There is no room left in the house. It's really getting to us all."

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: 'While we are aware of the Stewart family's concerns, we cannot discuss these with third parties but can confirm that we are liaising with the family.'