A family of four are being forced to sleep in a single bedroom after the council refused to rehouse them.

Mother-of-three Gemma Bourke, 26, fractured her spine in late June after an accident in her flat that left her bedridden in hospital for a week.

Following the fall, Miss Bourke - who was forced to wear a metal brace to keep her back straight, was told by doctors she should not return to her flat in Wentworth Court in Wallington as there is a risk the injury could reoccur.

Miss Bourke has to negotiate six flights of stairs to get to her flat because there are no lifts in her block.

Doctors fear tackling these stairs could damage Miss Bourke’s spine further.

Miss Bourke said: “My son Alfie has autism. If I had to clamber up those stairs carrying my baby, the pushchair and the shopping, and he had a bad turn, I hate to think what would happen.”

Three different doctors have written to the council advising them that Miss Burke should be rehoused, but the head of council housing has told Miss Burke that because the injury is not ongoing, she will have to carry on bidding for a new house.

Miss Bourke said: “The council wanted proof of the accident, then when the doctors wrote to them, we had to wait three weeks for them to tell us would not be rehoused.

“I’m living in a room at my mum’s house with my three kids, it’s just not right,” added Miss Bourke.

Miss Bourke, whose three children Alfie, 6, Loe, 5, and Sonny, seven months, said the family were suffering under the strain of being cooped up in a single room.

“My mum and I used to get on famously, but now we are at each other’s throats. The kids are finding all this very hard.”

A Sutton Council spokesman said: “The information we have received both from her doctor at the St Helier Hospital and also our own medical advisor is that her back injury is short-term and not likely to lead to long-term disability.

“A short-term injury or physical impairment is not sufficient grounds to move a tenant in social rented accommodation.”