7:00am Monday 26th October 2009
COUNCIL bosses shelved a grant they promised to give a disabled man for vital home improvements — and did not bother telling him.
In January, Doug Westwood, aged 62, had his legs amputated and the council agreed to give him £23,000 to build a wet room and an access ramp.
But when he heard nothing further and he called to check, they revealed the grant was on hold until next April.
“I was shocked, not only at the fact the money is frozen, but that they didn’t bother telling me when my quality of life depends on it,” said Mr Westwood, of Ludlow Close, Whitefield.
“I cannot shower so my wife, Pamela, has to wash me in my bed and I cannot leave the house. What if there’s a fire? I want my dignity back.”
Mr Westwood was a salesman at Burton Menswear in Bury, until he retired through ill-health when he was diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease.
The condition left Mr Westwood in such severe pain that surgeons advised him he needed to have his legs amputated below the knee.
He said: “The pain was unbearable so the amputation had to be done.
“Once I had recovered, the council surveyed my house.
“They agreed work needed to be done to accommodate my disability and I got planning permission in August.
“Then I was told we’d have the money in two weeks. Six weeks later, my wife called the council and they told me money had been frozen until April.
“Had they told me this in writing, I would have been willing to get a bank loan. It is unbelievable.”
Mr Westwood is entitled to receive up to £30,000 from the council to spend on necessary improvements to his home.
A council spokeswoman said: “We have been faced with resourcing difficulties in meeting growing demand for major adaptations.
“Unfortunately, Mrs Westwood contacted the council before we had sent a letter to those affected. She was advised of the current position.
“She was informed that it was hoped to approve the grant application within six months of the application —- this is the maximum time allowed for in the relevant legislation.
“It is not disputed that prior to this telephone call, the grant applicants agent was advised by a council officer that, once planning consent had been obtained, it would be possible to issue a grant approval.
“This was said in good faith and was actually correct at the time of the comment.
“Unfortunately, time moved on before the council received documentation from the grant applicant and agent and this coincided with the temporary delay in issuing grant approvals.
“The council will write to Mr Westwood within the next few days and provide some potential options which may allow progression of his case.”
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(Thanks to Steve McNeice for sending this article)Tags: adaptations, amputated, disabled, Doug Westwood, grant, home improvements, peripheral vascular disease