PLG were instructed on what was to initially be a rental search
The lady had suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the Buckinghamshire area, who was due to be discharged from hospital in the next 8 week.
What became apparent at the outset was that the property she owned, which had deemed unsuitable, was a draw for her that couldn’t be ignored. The client had built up a strong community and getting back to ‘her home’ environment became the sole focus.
The property, a detached 3 bedroom new build, in an estate location was far from an ideal solution but the pressure of ‘what can be achieved?’ took over.
Whilst in many cases returning home post-accident is not possible, our managing director Phill Gill was up for a challenge…
Immediate arrangements were made for a full site measure and survey with a scheme produced within 48 hours to extend the ground floor to the rear and incorporate the garage to create a therapy space. The scheme which now provided a level access, ground floor bedroom, dressing area and fully accessible bathroom along with an open plan kitchen, lounge and therapy – whilst far from perfect, provided a level of accommodation that would enable her to fulfil her ambition of returning home.
Naturally there was a degree of concern with planning, this was a typical, relatively modern, housing estate and whilst there were examples of modest extensions, there weren’t any that took in the sheer scale that we were attempting. Coupled with this, was the time factor, everyone needed to know what was going to happen so that measures for temporary accommodation or alternative discharges could be made.
Prior to the submission of the planning application, we opened up lines of communication with the lead planning officer. Lengthy conversations were had with the planning department including the officers and head of planning for the council, to explain the client’s position and the necessity to undertake these works to the property. Their application was submitted on the 15th August, and in the days following Phill spoke with the leading planning officer and the local councilor regularly to discuss the progress of the scheme.
Just two weeks later the lead planning officer informed us that they have fast-tracked the application as much as they can, and it was going to be recommended for approval. The application would still have to go through the public consultation period but if there were no major complaints it will be granted.
Whilst not the full green light, knowing we had the support from the planning department, and without sign of any objections, enabled us to proceed with the production of the tender documentation prior to the formal approval.
Planning permission was granted on the 21st September, only 4 weeks and 6 days after submission which set a new benchmark. Clearly a perfect example of the various elements of the process working closely together to achieve a positive outcome. What is also highlighted was that when portrayed in the right manner and a fully collaborative approach to the planning process is taken, the impossible can become possible.