Application for porch to help man with cerebral palsy is rejected

Taylor Dolman

Taylor Dolman, 20, doesn't let his cerebral palsy stop him boxing and going to the gym - Credit: Toni Richardson

A Romford mother has been refused permission to build a ramp her disabled son needs to access their home independently.

Toni Richardson applied to Havering Council to build a porch extension for her 20-year-old son Taylor Dolman, who has cerebral palsy and at present cannot enter the house without help because he uses an electric wheelchair. 

Currently, the mother-of-two has to get out a ramp by hand each time Taylor goes in or out of the house, and has said the only solution is building an adapted porch which he can manoeuvre in his wheelchair himself. 

Toni told the Recorder: “I want him to be able to go out and be independent. 

“A young man is being denied access in and out of his own home.” 

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However, the council’s planning officers refused the plans in December, on the basis that the porch would “form an unacceptably dominant and visually intrusive feature in the streetscene, harmful to the appearance and character of the surrounding area”. 

It has said it is willing to "explore different options" with Toni going forward.

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Toni added: “None of my neighbours have objected to the building and they are very sympathetic to our difficulties.” 

She appealed the council’s decision on January 27, and despite sending council committee members multiple emails asking for guidance, she says she has not received a response. 

“They should be supporting people with additional needs, but they didn’t even have the courtesy to send a response to me," she said.

Taylor was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, but exceeded doctors' expectations by learning to walk at seven years old. He now enjoys spending time exercising and socialising at the gym. 

Taylor Dolman boxing 2

Taylor was diagnosed with the condition at birth but defied doctors' predictions that he would never walk - Credit: Toni Richardson

“The only thing he can’t do is get back home again,” his mother added. 

“He just wants to be a regular lad, and he knows he has a disability but doesn’t want to see himself as that.” 

A spokesperson for Havering Council said: “The council very carefully considered the planning application before refusing it.  

“Advice was given pre-submission to Mrs Richardson that the application was unlikely to be supported as it included a large porch. 

“An appeal has been lodged with the planning inspectorate and the council is happy to speak with Ms Richardson to explore different options to help meet her son’s needs.” 

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