Ill man's year wait for new bathroom

By James MortlockA PARKINSON'S Disease sufferer who blames his council for a year-long delay in vital works on his home has enlisted the help of his MP to get action.

By James Mortlock

A PARKINSON'S Disease sufferer who blames his council for a year-long delay in vital works on his home has enlisted the help of his MP to get action.

West Suffolk MP, Richard Spring, heard yesterday Roy Salmon was tired of waiting for Forest Heath District Council to agree to build a bathroom extension at his Brandon home.

Mr Salmon successfully applied for a disabled facilities grant from the council in August 2002 after his occupational therapist advised him to get ground floor facilities.

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Since then the 70-year-old, of The Chase, who struggles to walk, has suffered a string of setbacks.

Over the past year the original plan has been revised twice and, despite being agreed by the council in July, there has been another request for information on Mr Salmon's financial circumstances.

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Mr Salmon, who was diagnosed as suffering Parkinson's Disease 20 years ago and has had two operations on his brain to stop the shaking symptoms of the illness, has even agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost of the work.

“Nobody seems to make a decision about anything. I have heard the council's apologies, but that's no good, we want action,” he said.

Mr Spring added: “There is no reason for the council not to employ someone else to get the work done. This problem is giving the Salmons some anxiety. I am not at all happy and very sympathetic.

“I will be asking Forest Heath to find a builder to go ahead and do the work as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Forest Heath District Council said the grant had been agreed on Tuesday and the work should start soon.

She explained the work had at first been referred to Bury St Edmunds-based home improvement agency, Anchor Staying Put, which it has now stopped using.

“On the face of it, in this case, the time delay does appear to be unacceptable and although we worked in partnership with Anchor Staying Put, we are now aware of the sometimes difficult issues associated with working with outside agencies,” added the spokeswoman.

“Forest Heath District Council is no longer referring disabled facilities grants to Anchor Staying Put.

“We endeavour, with all applications for disabled facilities grants, to provide the best possible service. We do ask our customers about their satisfaction with our service. In the vast majority of cases their response is very positive.”

The spokeswoman said Forest Heath District Council was also currently reviewing all its grants procedures.

No-one from Anchor Staying Put was available for comment.

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