We want to build an extension to our house, in a conservation area, to make sure that the house will be suitable for my wife; who has Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. We are at the pre-planning advice stage of applying for planning permission.
After a little negotiation, the planning officer and the conservation officer seem to be slowly warming to our plans and have indicated that our latest proposal is likely to be considered favourably.
The fly in the ointment is that the highways officer is saying that because we are adding a disability adapted bedroom, this proposal will need another parking space to satisfy their regulations. Our house was built in one of the oldest parts of the town and has never had any parking space so this requirement is impossible to comply with. We use the nearest on street parking and since my wife is no longer able to drive we have just one car, so quite how our proposal causes us to need another parking space is a mystery.
Because the roads near our house are also fairly narrow, they are stating that there will be difficulties with delivery of materials and construction vehicles – however, many people in our immediate neighbourhood have had construction work done very recently and there is a house just around the corner that has even tighter road restrictions but has just been granted planning permission.
Finally, the highways officer makes assumptions about my wife’s illness and states that she will need more frequent visits from the doctor and may need emergency vehicle access which will exacerbate the parking problems in the neighbourhood and lead to residents complaints – quite how the highways officer has enough medical knowledge to pronounce on whether and how often we will need doctors and ambulances is a mystery; also, having lived here for 28 years we know how to negotiate with our neighbours about parking if any of us need any special access – people have delivery vehicles all the time ranging from couriers white vans, heavyside building materials for gardens, delivery trucks with furniture and white goods…the list goes on.
But for all the reasons given the highways officer is not supporting our proposal – also citing traffic management issues on the public highway (our road has no through traffic)
My wife is well known and popular in the area and has a huge amount of support and empathy from our neighbours, most of whom are aghast at the intransigence shown here.
Does anybody know how much weight the highways officer’s support carries in the planning decision? Also, since other residents have had construction work carried out, without any such conditions, is it even legal to discriminate against a disabled person on the grounds that they may need a doctor’s visit?
Sorry about the rant but I am feeling so frustrated with what seems to me to be a ludicrous situation.