'Life-changing': Porch to give disabled man independence approved at appeal

Toni Richardson and Taylor

Toni Richardson (l) has been granted permission for a porch for son Taylor Dolman (r). - Credit: Toni Richardson

A Romford man with cerebral palsy has won his "long battle" to get planning permission for a porch he needs to live independently.

The approval was granted by a planning inspector after Havering Council rejected Taylor Dolman's application for a porch extension earlier this year.

Mother Toni Richardson appealed this decision to the Planning Inspectorate, who overruled the council on the grounds that the proposed porch "would result in very significant benefits to the health and wellbeing of the occupiers".

Toni received the good news on July 9, days before Taylor's 21st birthday and as she was busy planning his celebrations.

She said: "It's going to be life-changing.

"I'm really pleased and quite shocked to be honest.

"It was so wonderful to have such a great weekend, with two celebrations."

Toni Richardson

The mother and son celebrated Taylor's birthday with friends and family, and their planning application approval - Credit: Toni Richardson

Toni applied for permission to build the porch almost a year ago because she currently has to get out a ramp by hand each time Taylor enters or leaves the house. 

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However, Havering Council’s planning officers refused the proposal in December because, they said, the porch would “form an unacceptably dominant and visually intrusive feature in the streetscene, harmful to the appearance and character of the surrounding area”. 

However, the planning inspector argued that the "proposed development would not harm the character and appearance of the area".

Celebrating the news, Toni said: "Common sense has finally prevailed.

"There's a way to go, but the porch is going to happen and I'm delighted."

Taylor cake

Boxing fan Taylor celebrated his 21st birthday earlier this month - Credit: Toni Richardson

The mother-of-two said her friends who also have disabled children had watched the process closely, and were disappointed when the original application was rejected.

"This gives them some hope," Toni said.

"So many people give up, but this sends a positive message.

"It has been a long battle, and it took a lot out of me, but it was worth it."

Toni said she found the process difficult, adding: "I won't be going to the council if an emergency comes up in the future."

A spokesperson for Havering Council said: “We carefully considered her application before reaching our decision and we respect that the planning inspector has reached a different view. 

"We’re sorry to hear that Ms Richardson felt that the process was difficult.

“We will reflect on the outcome and have this in mind when we consider future applications in similar circumstances.”

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