We got back from holiday, and in the September I started at the great primary school where we were all to go. I really enjoyed it, it actually was great to be able to get away from my brothers and mother for a few hours a day, school was far less hectic than being at home.
The OSO carried on with trying to sort out getting planning permission for us to build a bungalow in a bit of the field which the farmer had kindly agreed to let us build on. Mum and Dad had to submit rough plans though nothing in detail at that moment in time they were just trying to get outline planning permission from the Local Authority. Once these plans had been submitted the Planning bods came out to have a look at the site to see if it was suitable. Sadly, they decided it was not a good place to build because of the access onto a bad bend in a busy road. So that was it! We wouldn’t be allowed to build there.
However, the farmer went away and did some thinking, he really was keen to help us, and came up with another plot of land he was prepared to sell us which was actually a better place, more accessible and The Local Authority planners gave us the thumbs up unofficially that we would be more likely to get planning permission. Into action went the OSO.
The first step was to agree a price with the farmer for the price of the plot if we did get planning permission to build. Mum’s father (my Granddad I called him Pompa) was a retired solicitor so felt it was best to agree a price at that stage because if planning permission was granted then the plot would potentially worth a lot more. Hope you followed that, anyway this was easily sorted out. The plot of land was actually designated as Green Belt, but was right next door to a line of bungalows so Mum and Dad went round to other people in other Counties in England who had been given permission to build a bungalow for someone who had disabilities. They had lots of meetings with their local councillor who was on the planning committee (he was really nice and helpful) and also met with other people (I’m not sure who to be honest, but they were always out and about trying to sort things out).
Eventually they got an architect to draw up some plans for a fantastic bungalow that would be able to meet all my needs as my disability got worse as well as being a great home for all of us and let us stay in the village where we lived.
All this took about a year I think, can’t remember exactly, but it was a long time ago! At last it was at a stage where Mum and Dad could put together the formal application to put to the Council to see if we could get planning permission to build. We had been informed that we had a very good chance of it all going through. I don’t know if you know how it works; but once an application has gone in then other people can see it and point out any objections they might have to the proposed build. We had some responses. One household said they didn’t want someone living near them who was in a wheelchair because that would ‘de-value their property’!
Another stated that they thought ‘people in wheelchairs shouldn’t live in the countryside, but should live in towns where there were better facilities’!
I know, you wouldn’t believe how people could say that would you?! I mean, most sensible people would realise that having me living near them could only increase the value of their property!
So time went on, but eventually we got to the weekend before the Planning Committee were due to decide on the Monday if we would get planning permission. The farmer came round to our house that weekend to say he was very sorry but he was now not in a position to let us build on his land! Apparently (unbeknown to us) that bit of land was jointly owned by him and his brother in law who had decided he didn’t want us to build there after all! Why he had only just decided that after nearly a year and a huge amount of time and money that Mum and Dad had put into the project was a mystery to us. The poor farmer was really upset, he had tried really hard to try and get his brother in law to change his mind, but to no avail. Mum went round to try and persuade him to let us build, or at the very least, explain why he had made this decision literally at the last moment. He was having non of it, so at the last hurdle we were let down all that time, energy, money and help from lots of lovely people all down the drain because of one person!
As you can imagine the OSO and Dad were very upset and angry, but there was nothing they could do, but accept they wouldn’t be able to build a bungalow that would have been great for us. It was a blow, but the OSO was already thinking of what else they would be able to do next!!