A DESPERATE father fears his family will not be able to look after his disabled son if council chiefs reject their new home plans.
When Tony Hands and his wife Amanda found themselves struggling to care for 18-year-old John at the family’s Weston-on-Avon home, Tony’s parents Michael and Pam offered to adapt their home so the family could live with them in nearby Welford.
But planning bosses at Stratford District Council say the proposed conversion of a garage block at the couple’s home – to create a new three-bedroom property – is ‘unsustainable’ and have recommended permission be refused when the plans go before a committee next Tuesday (January 27).
Tony, a 46-year-old postman, said if the plans were refused it could force the family to put John, who was left wheelchair-bound after suffering a stroke as a baby, into professional care.
“We just want to be able to live together as a family so John has the life he deserves,” Tony said.
“I have looked after John all these years but now I’m finding it so hard to juggle my shifts while making sure I’m there for him.
“My wife Amanda suffers from anxiety and finds it difficult to leave the house and John has regular hospital appointments so as a family we have reached a stage where something needs to happen before it all gets on top of us.
“The changes to my parents home would mean we could all be together as a family and support each other.
“It would give John more independence and mean he is looked after properly.
“If the plans are turned down I really won’t know what we will do. I will either have to give up my job and become John’s full-time carer or he will have to be looked after professionally and we really don’t want that.
“The officers are saying it is unsustainable but surely this is a good enough reason. We just want John to have the best life he can.”
The conversion of the Barton Road property would see a triple garage made into a three-bedroom house for Tony, Amanda and John.
Welford councillor, Peter Barnes, said the needs of the family should outweigh the fact the development was unsustainable in planning terms.
But despite acknowledging the building would have no significant impact on the landscape, planning chiefs say the new home would be unsuitable because it lies outside of the village and the family would rely on a car to get around.
In a report put together ahead of the meeting, an officer concluded: “While I acknowledge the personal circumstances of the applicant and his family, this does not override the harm caused by reason of the wholly unsustainable location of the site, outside of the village centre of Welford, remote from services and facilities and poorly connected thus leading to an inevitable reliance on the private car.”