Saturday, February 6th 2010

A meeting with my local Councillor

Thanks to Marion, my OT who has been doing some investigations on my behalf, I had an opportunity this morning to meet with Dan, one of the local Conservative councillors for the area I live in. Dan actually came upstairs and sat down beside me in the study where we discussed my declining health, the physical limitations it placed on me, the reasons why I wanted an extension on the side of the house, and the urgency of the matter. I stressed that with MND time is everything and that I could not wait 12 weeks for an appeal decision. I also explained to him that I had been living on the upper floor of my house for the past month and had not been able to get out.

I showed him the floor plans and elevation drawings and explained all the benefits that this particular layout would bring. He seemed very sympathetic to my needs and having seen the house for himself as well as the surrounding environment couldn’t understand why my application had been refused. I think it certainly helped having this face-to-face meeting as it enabled him to see first-hand exactly why I needed to resolve things quickly in light of how far my condition had deteriorated. Meeting him in a room full of assistive technology, wearing my new MND collar, with a large mobile hoist in the corner probably went a long way to reinforce that. The meeting ended on a positive note with Dan promising to discuss the matter with the planning officials early next week. If that doesn’t work then he’s going to set up a meeting between the three of us so that the case officer can also fully understand the reasons behind my application.

After today’s discussion it’s looking increasingly like the first application was treated as a straightforward planning application request. Nobody seemed to be aware that there was a progressive disease driving the request. That’s not to say that ill health should outweigh all other considerations but I certainly believe that it should be taken into account. And that was why today’s meeting was so important to me: it was a chance to try and get somebody to look at the application with a degree of compassion, understanding, and downright common sense. Let’s see what next week brings.

Mark

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