A disabled mum-of-two believes the council has "downplayed" the seriousness of her condition after her wishes for a ground floor property were ignored.

Connie O’Connell has had a challenging life after she was born with a disorder called Poland Syndrome; her right arm is smaller than her left arm and day-to-day activities can be a struggle.

During an operation, Ms O'Connell suffered the loss of the main muscle in her back but despite everything, she has soldiered on. She has been a swimming instructor teaching disabled children at The Venue in Borehamwood for seven years.

For the last year, Ms O’Connell and her children, aged three and one, have been living in temporary accommodation above some shops in Borehamwood – but Hertsmere Borough Council were required to find Connie and her kids a permanent home.

Ms O’Connell says because of her condition, she needs a ground floor flat.

The council has been able to find a flat for the family – but it is on the first floor of Canterbury House.

Although Canterbury House has a lift, Ms O’Connell is concerned about what she’ll do if the lift were to break down.

She told the Times: "The flat I’ve been given is lovely but the lift always breaks. I’ve spoken to two of my neighbours here and she told me once the lift was broken down for four months.

"I am meant to have ground floor priority and I have letters from doctors and adult services supporting that."

Connie is concerned about this flight of stairs and another she would need to navigate if the lift were to break down

Connie is concerned about this flight of stairs and another she would need to navigate if the lift were to break down

But despite telling the council of her needs, she has been given the flat at Canterbury House – even though Ms O’Connell says she has seen other ground floor properties in the town available.

She added: "I don’t know why the council are being so difficult. I’ve given them more than enough evidence from people who know my disability.

"The council is downplaying what I have. It is not just Poland Syndrome, I am also missing my back muscle.

"I don’t claim disability. I’ll even take the smallest flat available as long as it is on the ground floor. I can’t lift my children to take them downstairs if the lift breaks. It’s a bit of a nightmare."

Ms O’Connell has been receiving advice and support from her local councillor Michelle Vince and she has also appealed the council’s decision to move her into Canterbury House – which she says had no hot water or heating when she moved in last week - but the appeal process could take months.

Hertsmere Borough Council offices in Borehamwood

Hertsmere Borough Council offices in Borehamwood

A Hertsmere Borough Council spokesman said: "Canterbury House is owned and managed by Clarion Housing.

"As a local authority, we have nomination rights to any properties which become vacant within Canterbury House and properties owned by other social housing landlords in the borough.

"That means we can nominate an individual or household on our housing register for a social housing property and an offer of accommodation is then made, in agreement with the landlord.

"Very few social housing properties become available to rent each year, because there are simply not enough to satisfy demand. Only families who have an identified housing need are likely to secure accommodation.

"While we cannot comment on individual cases, it should be stressed that the medical and personal circumstances of all clients and members of their household are fully assessed to ensure any offer of accommodation is suitable before it is made."