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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Ramp battle joy for Cumbrian pensioner who feared losing independence

An elderly woman who feared she would be housebound if she was forced to remove the ramp from outside her home has won a lengthy fight with planners to keep it.

Audrey Gilmore ramp photo
Audrey Gilmore

Olga Henderson, who suffers from arthritis and needs to use a wheelchair, would be unable to leave her Maryport home if the wooden ramp was ripped out.

The 80-year-old, of Well Lane, only manages to live in the flat as her daughter, Audrey Gilmore, lives above and cares for her.

When she moved into the flat two years ago from a house in the town, her landlord, Norman Blackburn installed the temporary ramp to help her get in and out, but he did not obtain council planning permission.

A retrospective planning application was refused by Allerdale Council as the house was in a conservation area and in October Mr Blackburn was hit with an enforcement notice by Allerdale and told he had six months to dismantle the ramp.

Because Mrs Henderson was unable to continue living without the ramp, Mr Blackburn appealed the decision and since then Mrs Henderson and her daughter have been living on their nerves waiting for the outcome.

They have now learned that the planning inspector has granted planning permission and ruled that the ramp can stay.

“I’m delighted with the outcome,” said Mrs Henderson. “I am so pleased that I can stay here as I didn’t want to move and I am also glad that all of the fighting is over.”

Her daughter said: “The ramp is a lifeline for my mother. If we had to take it out she would be housebound or would have to go into a residential home.

“She is dependant on the wheelchair and can’t live without it and she would not be able to get in and out of the house without it. She has been worried about it, but she’s not the sort of person to let it get her down.”

The inspector granted the permission on the condition the ramp be removed when Mrs Henderson no longer lives there.

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