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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Ramp plea for arthritis woman

An 80-year-old woman fears she will become housebound if her plans for an outside ramp are not approved by Allerdale council.

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ACCESS: Audrey Gilmore on the ramp to her mother Olga Henderson's flat on Well Lane, Maryport

Olga Henderson, of Well Lane, Maryport, suffers from arthritis and cannot walk or care for herself.

She manages to live semi-independently because her daughter Audrey Gilmore lives next door.

Her landlord Norman Blackburn installed a temporary ramp for Mrs Henderson to help her get out, but he did not obtain council planning permission.

A retrospective planning application was then refused and he was told by Allerdale council to dismantle it.

He has now submitted a new application for a new ramp to replace the existing one and is awaiting Allerdale council’s determination.

However, Cumbria Highways department has already indicated that it will not support the new application.

Mrs Gilmore is worried that if the plans are turned down her mother may have to move into residential care as she would not be able to get out of her home.

Because Mrs Henderson lives in a conservation area, the planning rules are more stringent.

Helen Brownlie, Allerdale council’s conservation officer, said that while she would not have objected to a different kind of ramp, there was no point trying to negotiate an acceptable style because of the highways objection.

Mrs Henderson, said: “I’ve had sleepless nights thinking about it.

“Today my power went off. I was stuck in my electric-powered recliner chair and my phone was not working. I was able to bang on the wall to get my daughter to help me.

“What would I do if she was not next door? I do not want to go into a home. I don’t know what I will do.”

Mrs Gilmore said: “My mother can’t live alone now and this flat gives her the most independence she will get. I’m here if she needs me.

“She moved into this flat from her home in Grasslot. She could not go back there.”

Maryport Town Council is backing the planning application.

Angela Kendall, chairwoman of the town council planning committee, said it was appalling to imagine someone losing their home for the sake of a ramp.

An Allerdale council spokeswoman said no decision and no recommendation for the new application had been made and no date had been set for the decision.

She added: “All planning applications are determined on their individual merits, including a balance of benefits and adverse impacts.”


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