Barry Cleverley lives with his partner Valerie Butts in Strete.

In 2020 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had four operations at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

His surgeon told him he needed two more. In July 2022 he was given the devastating news that his cancer had spread to the lymph nodes around his groin and around his spine meaning that the cancer was now incurable and that he had a year to live.

The couple have since been on a housing list to move as where they live is remote and neither of them drives.

They have to rely on buses and lifts. They want to be closer to Torbay Hospital where Barry receives his chemotherapy treatment. It is currently a 40-mile trip involving several changes of buses.

In trying to get rehoused they have found that those with local connections and homeless people are ahead of then in the queue.

Barry explained: “They had given me 12 months to live but I am still here even though the cancer is getting worse,

“They also told me that if I had chemotherapy that could be extended by two or three years.”

The couple have been dealing with Devon Home Choice where eligible people can bid for properties. They have bid for several homes in Torquay and Totnes without success.

The couple were at place number one in the queue in the bidding process for a bungalow in Torquay then on allocation day they received a message telling them that the house had allocated it to somebody else.

Barry said: “We were devastated.

“The majority of the properties on the website are either in Plymouth, which we don’t like because it is too urban, or out in the sticks in North Devon, where you struggle to get a decent bus service.”

On another occasion a house they were bidding on in Totnes was given to another person. Barry asked: “Why couldn’t our house in Strete be given to them and the Totnes house to us?

“It would have made more sense.”

In addition to the cancer, Barry has to contend with hypertension, Type Two diabetes and high blood pressure.

Barry told us: “I am trying to stay positive but things are getting worse.

“I feel nauseous most of the time but I still feel strong,

“I tend the garden and still go shopping occasionally in Dartmouth or Kingsbridge.”

Barry feels he has been let down by South Hams District Council and his housing officer at LiveWest.

He said: “It’s like my life doesn’t matter. If I was a dog I’d be looked after better.

“The Liberal Democrats at SHDC say housing is their priority but nothing is happening.”

Leader of South Hams District Council Julian Brazil said: “It’s very sad to hear of Barry’s continued predicament and I wish him well. Unfortunately, this is by no means an isolated incident. Every week I hear from local people and their struggles with housing. It is a symptom of the issues we face with the lack of genuinely affordable housing for local people. As a new administration we are looking for solutions. “We are buying up properties and developing a streamline process to bring forward more affordable sites.

“All this takes time. Central government can play its part. Right to buy legislation needs to go and housing solutions should be devolved down to local authorities. We know our local communities housing need and are best placed to resolve it. People sitting in Whitehall may mean well, but in truth they haven’t got a clue.”