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I am disabled but the council FORBIDDEN me to drive my mobility car because it ruins the countryside views

A disabled teacher has been banned from driveway – because council say it ruins their views of the country.

Rachael Ardron, 49, received a £20,000 grant to build a driveway on her front lawn so she could access her home and charge her mobility car.

Rachael Ardron has turned down her driveway plans - despite being granted money to build a driveway

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Rachael Ardron has turned down her driveway plans – despite being granted money to build a drivewayPhoto credit: Solent

The mother of two from Charlton, Hans., suffers from severe arthritis and requires a car ride to easily get to her house.

She submitted plans to build a lowered curb and driveway in front of her home back in 2020, but council planning officials have repeatedly rejected them – claiming the feature would ruin the rural “character” of the area.

Rachael, who suffers regular falls due to her instability and is forced to walk with a cane to support her, said: “The whole thing is just ridiculous.

“They said the driveway would stick out because it doesn’t fit in – but there are a lot of driveways here.

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“They say it would be dangerous to withdraw, but it’s not dangerous at all. It’s like they have nothing better to do than reject my plans.”

Rachael’s occupational therapist suggested she get an electric MG ZS SUV – which is automatic and easily accessible – and install a charging station in front of her house.

She planned to build a lowered curb and paved driveway, as well as a surfaced “hard driveway” for the vehicle to park and charge in front of her home.

But although Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) gave Rachael £20,000 for the driveway, the council’s planning committee soon got involved.

The planners declined their appeal, saying the drive would undermine “the open feel” of the area and detract from its “lavish green character”.

TVBC also cited road safety concerns and “insufficient visibility” as reasons for the rejection, adding that Rachael’s grant for disabled facilities has since been “closed”.

But Rachael, who works as a part-time teacher at Charlton & District Preschool, said many of her neighbors already have similar drives.

And the mother was stunned by the council’s decision.

“I don’t understand their logic in not letting me drive,” she said.

“What difference does it make to them to drop the curb?

“They say it hinders the rural setting… are you laughing?

“There are three driveways near my house and across the street is a huge, ugly parking lot that they dismantled for green space.

They say it hinders the rural setting… are you laughing?

Rachel Ardron

“Mine is more for my needs – it’s not like I want it to make my property stand out or add value.”

Rachael’s plans were submitted in July last year and rejected in October.

She then appealed the denial, which was dismissed in February of that year.

Her car was paid for by her weekly Personal Independence Payments through the company Motability and was delivered with the charger installed at her home.

But the £20,000 grant for the driveway was awarded by TVBC before planners from the same council then decided the driveway could not go ahead.

After plans for her ride were twice rejected, Racheal, who lives with her two sons, considers swapping her current car for a gas car.

“REFUSED FOR SEVERAL REASONS”

She is currently forced to go to the nearest garage at night to charge her car after replacing the fence in her front yard and being unable to charge the car at home.

Her neighbors next door said they had no problems with Rachael’s driveway plans, although a nearby resident said it could cause safety issues as he’s “a bit in the blind spot”.

A spokesman for TVBC said: “In 2020, a Disability Grant application was received for a lowered curb, paved entrance and pavement for disabled access to a property in Charlton.

“This application included external architectural plans that advised the applicant that planning permission would be required. The Council was also clear that no subsidy payment would be made until the appropriate approval had been obtained.

“Unfortunately, the subsequent planning application was rejected for a number of political reasons. Primarily because Hampshire County Council has raised significant motorway safety concerns due to insufficient visibility.

“Charlton Parish Council has also raised concerns about the dangers to pedestrians and motorists. The independent planning inspection also confirmed the decision and refused approval.

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“Therefore, the Disability Facilities Grant case was closed and the applicant advised – without any money ever being sent from TVBC.

“Should the resident in question want to get in touch with our planning team again, we would be very happy to talk to you again.”

The council said the driveway would ruin the character of the area

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The council said the driveway would ruin the character of the areaPhoto credit: Solent
The mother of two needs a cane to walk around and needed the driveway to help her access her home

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The mother of two needs a cane to walk around and needed the driveway to help her access her homePhoto credit: Solent
Rachael was taken aback by the Council's denials

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Rachael was taken aback by the Council’s denialsPhoto credit: Solent

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18261099/disabled-council-drive-mobility-car-views/ I am disabled but the council FORBIDDEN me to drive my mobility car because it ruins the countryside views

Bobby Allyn

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