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An Example of Planning In Action in Rochford District

February 8, 2008 by  

Echo Story – At last we can build a home for our boy

By JOHN GEOGHEGAN
A COUPLE have won their battle to build a special home for their disabled teenaged son.

Objections from neighbours and district and parish councillors had threatened plans to build a new bungalow for 17-year-old Jake Mann and his family behind their Hawkwell home.

Rochford District Council has now granted planning permission to the Manns, ending their six-year struggle to create a better home for wheelchair-user, Jake, who has muscular dystrophy
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After the decision, his builder dad, Robert, spoke of his relief – and the family’s disappointment others had tried to block their plans for the plot, off Main Road, Hawkwell.

Mr Mann said : “I was really surprised anyone could feel that way

“Jake’s like a local character. Everyone here has seen him grow up and he’s got a great following of friends.

“That’s why we wanted to stay here and go to all this trouble, rather than move elsewhere.

“It’s taken me six years to accumulate all the ground and it’s something we feel very strongly about.”

The family wants to build a three-bedroomed bungalow with a garage in a quarter-acre plot behind three houses owned by the family, including their current home.

The proposal was approved at a recent planning meeting which saw Hawkwell Tory councillor, Heather Glynn, join two other local members in opposing it.

Ms Glynn expressed concerns about the loss of neighbours’ views and problems with access to the site.

Hawkwell Parish Council and the Royal British Legion, which has a club nearby, both also objected.

However, independent ward councillor John Mason spoke up for the family, saying: “I found it very surprising three Hawkwell councillors opposed it. No one has approached me to say they were against it.”

Mr Mann, wife, Karen and Jake will live in the bungalow, which will be fully adapted to cope with his wheelchair. They hope to have it built and to be moved in for Christmas. The Manns’ present home will then be sold.

The Rochford Independent Comment

Tory Councillors seem to making a habit of opposing planning applications with concern the disabled.  Remember the opposition raised against Disability Essex ?  On both occaisons I have had to lead the debate for Approval.  And it was won both times against stiff opposition.

In the case of Robert Mann, my Co-Ward Hawkwell West Councillor, Tory Derek Stansby was also against and perhaps I should have guessed that when he called a Members Site Meeting before the application was considered.

The other objector with Tory Heather Glynn who led the debate for Refusal was Tory, Michael Starke.

I really don’t understand these people.  I am glad to be around to stop these things happening. And if there were more independents so much the better. 

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