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Wheelchair lift planning permission refused

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I rent a bungalow, when I moved in, my disabilities were not as bad, however they have progressed significantly over the past 3 years. In October last year I requested a grant to get a wheelchair lift to take me to ground level, the house is accessible by a gentle slope and 4 steps. The council granted the grant and works began on the lift. The builders however went off on their own, building a structure totally off spec. The works were halted as well as it turned out the property was in a conservation area. The bungalow in cul de sac I live in is one of 6 retirement bungalows built in 1980. Looks quite drab. Anyway, people objected to the lift based on what the builders built, which is yet to be demolished as they have admitted their mistake. But now I learn planning permission isn't going to be granted., 'The proposal is not acceptable and less than substantial harm would arise to the conservation area, with no public benefits to outweigh this harm. The proposal therefore is contrary to Policy CS.8 of the Core Strategy'.
I'm totally aghast as to how they came to this decision. 
The team who granted the grant have no idea what it means, they are the county council and planning is a local council decision, the loft company don't understand it either, but they said they don't know what it means either but likely that it can't go ahead.
So, now I am stuck in the house with no way to leave to do anything. And because I have a house I'm not on the council list as a priority, and I can't afford the several thousand to just up and leave. I feel as if I am now a prisoner because of some stupid planning decision.
Surely I have some rights?? It's not my application so I can't make the appeal, nor afford a solicitor to do it for me. 
What can I do?? Landlord is happy for this to happen, local parish council are happy... Just the planning department. 

They also go on to say the planning application was incorrectly filled out, which leads me to believe the lift company don't know what they are doing either. Further, I don't even know if planning have even visited the site due to coronavirus. 
I've been stuck here like this for over a year now and no way forwards. Just broken promises and dreams of being able to go out shopping. Its not fair. What can I do?? 

Replies

  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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    Involve your local District Councillor 
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • morritmorrit Forumite
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    Robin9 said:
    Involve your local District Councillor 
    He supports it. 
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    It also appears that the existing lift construction went ahead before planning permission was granted.
    Where you live has been designated a Conservation area. That means there are controls in place as to what you can and can't do to your house.
    The  council consider that the lift,  per the planning application,  would be detrimental to the conservation area and there is not enough public benefit from it to override the restrictions   in place      
     
     Whoever  is submitting the planning application should discuss it with the  local conservation officer to see if a compromise can be reached.
  • venisonvenison Forumite
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    would a ramp not do the job?
    Boycott the right wing press !
  • 50Twuncle50Twuncle Forumite
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    As far as I am aware - the Equalities act overrides any petty bureaucratic rules conjured up by a local authority

    Things may (or may not) get better
  • morritmorrit Forumite
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    sheramber said:

    It also appears that the existing lift construction went ahead before planning permission was granted.
    Where you live has been designated a Conservation area. That means there are controls in place as to what you can and can't do to your house.
    The  council consider that the lift,  per the planning application,  would be detrimental to the conservation area and there is not enough public benefit from it to override the restrictions   in place      
     
     Whoever  is submitting the planning application should discuss it with the  local conservation officer to see if a compromise can be reached.
    It's all being controlled by the lift company. This is what I have been told as well, but noone has mentioned a heritage officer. I'm pretty much kept in the dark. I will ask about it though, if they respond to any emails. 

    As for what's already there... Its beyond a joke. The Builder literally went off on his own apparently. But because it was during lockdown and all offices were closed, noone told him otherwise. I didn't know enough about the final design to say it was wrong, but other than forcefully stopping him, not much I could do. It's caused a lot of problems. It's a joke, it has to be! I even asked them to demolish it, they came out, did a bit, then stopped. That was about 2 months ago. The lift company told me that the council told the builders to stop! So I don't know what's going on frankly. 

    Thank you for your reply though. 
  • morritmorrit Forumite
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    venison said:
    would a ramp not do the job?
    Precisely!!!!!!
    You know the idiom about the US spending billions of dollars designing a pen that would write in zero G, and the Russians used a pencil? 

    That's basically what has happened. I said from the beginning that I just need something to get me past those 4 steps at the bottom, but the council decided that they would rather spend 25k on this... 
  • morritmorrit Forumite
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    50Twuncle said:
    As far as I am aware - the Equalities act overrides any petty bureaucratic rules conjured up by a local authority

    Nope. Apparently not. Sad isn't it... 

    This is what the planning officer sent me... 

    Thank you for your email.

     

    Firstly, the decision has not been reached by what has been built. It has been considered on what has been formally submitted on the plans, and this is considered unacceptable.

     

    Policy CS.8 of the Core Strategy states “Proposals which would lead to substantial harm to, or total loss of significance of, designated heritage assets will only be permitted where substantial public benefits outweigh that harm or loss and it is demonstrated that all reasonable efforts have been made to sustain the existing use or find reasonable alternative uses.” As such, in an instance where we would consider a proposal harmful within the Conservation Area, the next step of the process is asking whether there is a public benefit which will outweigh the harm. In this instance, there is a personal benefit. For example, once an applicant moves out of the dwelling the harm will still be considered present with no benefit to the public.

     

    Myself and both my line managers came to this decision, with a lot of extensive discussion. It may well be possible to create an access that works for you, but unfortunately the proposal before us is not acceptable. My advice would be, as mentioned to xxxxxx to discuss and consult with an experienced planning agent who may be able to advise. We do not unfortunately provide pre-application advice within the householder team.

  • mrcol1000mrcol1000 Forumite
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    venison said:
    would a ramp not do the job?
    I had exactly the same problem. The council said that there was not enough space for a ramp to access my front door and keep a minimum of 1:14 grade (there was 3 steps from flat). They wanted to put a lift in but because it would be above their threshold for "small works", I would have to apply for a disabled access grant and wait anything between 18months to 3 years. At that point I was trapped in my house so couldn't wait that long.

    I went to a private company who drew up very rough plans for a ramp. I showed these to the council who then decided to get the company who does their ramps out who said it would be no problem and they could do it for the small works cost. I had a ramp built the next week and ended six months of taking an hour to get into my house. 

  • morritmorrit Forumite
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    Really?? See, my housemates brother is a CAD engineer, and I have an electric wheelchair. So, I still question !!!!!! is the need to spend 25 thousand quid for the sake of 4 steps! It's ridiculous. And being that they are going to be demolishing works as it is, why not make it a slope? That way EVERYONE could use it. Hell, in France they have a slope either side of the steps for wheelchairs so why not here?

    I'm going to speak to the OT lady who authorised it all. 

    However, I feel that they will still refuse it being a conservation area. I wanted to plant a tree, but was told I wasn't allowed. Not entirely sure why they are trying to preserve a strip of grass! 

    25 thousand quid! I mean... That's life changing! 
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