Pensioner brands NPA ‘heartless’ over dialysis plan for loft of Brockenhurst bungalow
A SERIOUSLY ill pensioner who wants a loft conversion to install life-saving medical equipment has branded a Forest authority “heartless” after being told his plans would likely be refused.
Martin Turner (76) has only 11% kidney function and is on the transplant list and will soon be starting dialysis.
He and wife Valerie live in 1950s bungalow ‘Ennerdale’ in Brockenhurst, which he says was marketed as having three bedrooms when the couple bought it.
Mr Turner wants to expand the space in the loft bedroom of the home on Balmer Lawn Road by installing an apex roof.
He said: “It would give me a place to have my dialysis equipment and receive nine hours of treatment in comfort.
“We wanted to have the roof installed along with a window to the front of the room so I can look out on woodland while having what is very painful treatment.”
But New Forest National Park Authority planning officers have said a planning application to expand the loft area would likely be turned down because it would exceed the allowed interior floorspace.
They have said that, instead, a fixed ladder to the loft could be installed along with a dormer window.
An angry Mr Turner said: “I think they are just being heartless. I am very sick and this situation makes me feel worse.
“We are virtually the only house in the road that does not have a loft conversion. The neighbouring bungalow is a complete mirror of ours and it has a large loft conversion with a big window to the front, so why are we not allowed to do the same?”
The bungalow, which they bought in 1990, was originally a holiday home for the couple who are from Chorley Wood, Essex. Their former home is now occupied by their son, and they have lived in Brockenhurst for the past six years.
Mr Turner said neighbours have written to the NPA supporting his plans.
He said: “I feel this is discrimination of the elderly, disabled and seriously ill.”
Under planning policy, Mr Turner would be able to carry out the alterations if the bedroom had been used as one before 1982. He says a Velux window in the room dates from 1972 which proves it was, but the council disputes this.
They could also be approved if there was an “exceptional and unique family need” something Mr Turner says the couple, who used to run a travel business, have.
A neighbour of the Martins told the A&T: “I have no objection whatsoever to them doing what they want with the loft. Given the circumstances, I think the NPA should have more compassion.”
Steve Avery, director of strategy and planning at the NPA, said: “We understand Mr Turner’s desire to carry out alterations to his property and we are very much aware of his medical condition.
“Our understanding is that Mr Turner currently lives in Hertfordshire and is looking to make a permanent move to a second home here in the New Forest. As planning authority for the national park, we have long established planning policies that seek to safeguard the stock of smaller dwellings in the Forest for cumulative enlargements.
“Our planning officers have visited the property and we have done our best to help and advise Mr Turner about the relevant planning policies that apply in a case such as this.
“We believe there is scope to extend the property in accordance with policy and have advised Mr Turner accordingly.
“It is now up to Mr Turner whether he wishes to proceed with a planning application.”