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Council pays £40,000 to fit 10-level wheelchair ramp at home of disabled girl

  • West Dunbartonshire Council spent £40,000 building a 10-level ramp to allow seven-year-old Katie Lally to get home
  • Katie suffers from bulbar palsy – caused by complications after being born prematurely and is confined to a wheelchair
  • But council placed Katie and her family in a property that could only be accessed by climbing three flights of stairs
  • After two years of campaigning, the council finally agreed to build huge steel ramp in the Lally family’s front garden
  • But nobody expected it to be split over 10 levels and to be so large that it has taken over almost the entire garden
  • Local youths now use ramp to skateboard but the council claim health and safety rules prevent them installing a gate

By
Larisa Brown


PUBLISHED:

12:38 GMT, 13 February 2014


|
UPDATED:

00:18 GMT, 14 February 2014

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With a disabled daughter and three flights of stairs to her front door, Clare Lally was desperate for easier access to her home.

But she could hardly have bargained for the bizarre solution local housing officials dreamed up.

Rather than a simple ramp, her two-year campaign has resulted in the creation of this metal monstrosity – a ten-level zigzag steel slope that covers her once spacious garden and has cost the council £40,000.

It means that Miss Lally, 33,  and seven-year-old Katie, who is  confined to a wheelchair, must travel 60m up the winding path to their home, a process that can take several minutes.

ramp

ramp

Ridiculous: West Dunbartonshire Council spent £40,000 building an eyesore, three-level ramp outside a house in Clydebank, near Glasgow. Clare Lally, 33, spent two years campaigning for improved access for her seven-year-old daughter Katie, who uses a wheelchair, but this is not what she had in mind

No solution: After two years campaigning for better access, officials eventually agreed to build a ramp. But Ms Lally was left shocked by their solution - a £40,000, 10-level eyesore which almost entirely fills her front garden

No solution: After two years campaigning for better access, officials eventually agreed to build a ramp. But Ms Lally was left shocked by their solution – a £40,000, 10-level eyesore which almost entirely fills her front garden

ramp

ramp

Bizarre: The 10-level steel ramp, which almost entirely fills the Lally family’s front garden, has now been ‘hijacked’ by local youths who are using it as a place to skateboard. Clare Lally (pictured right with daughter Katie) said the local council told her that building restrictions prevented them coming up with a better solution

The way it was: The Lally family were put in a house that required wheelchair-bound Katie to struggle up three flights of steps to reach the front door

The way it was: The Lally family were put in a house that required wheelchair-bound Katie to struggle up three flights of steps to reach the front door

Their disgruntled neighbours say the eyesore has ‘completely ruined’ the street. What is more, the structure has been taken over by youths who see it as an ideal skateboard run.

Yesterday Miss Lally, who lives with Katie’s father Derek Steel, 37, said: ‘There must have been a better solution.

‘We weren’t fighting for a massive steel ramp – we just wanted to improve Katie’s quality of life.

Access: Katie, pictured with her mother Clare, suffers from bulbar palsy - caused by complications after she and twin Holly were born prematurely. She uses a wheelchair to get around and had been struggling after the local council placed her family in a property at the top of three flights of stairs

Access: Katie, pictured with her mother Clare, suffers from bulbar palsy – caused by complications after she and twin Holly were born prematurely. She uses a wheelchair to get around and had been struggling after the local council placed her family in a property at the top of three flights of stairs

Unexpected: After two years of campaigning, the council finally agreed to build huge steel ramp in the Lally family's front garden. But nobody thought it would end up being so large the family cannot even see the end of it from their window

Unexpected: After two years of campaigning, the council finally agreed to build huge steel ramp in the Lally family’s front garden. But nobody thought it would end up being so large the family cannot even see the end of it from their window

Changes: The house had a large green lawn stretching down to the street before the council covered it by installing a £40,000 10-level ramp

Changes: The house had a large green lawn stretching down to the street before the council covered it by installing a £40,000 10-level ramp

‘The
council could have gone about the whole project in a more sensible way.
They said this was the only option – to fit something into the garden –
because of building regulations.’

Anything
is better than the arduous climb up the stairs, she explained – but the
new ramp takes up so much space that she cannot see the bottom of it
from the front window of her £95,000 house, which is council-owned.

‘It
is a lot easier, but I don’t believe that the council weren’t able to
do something else. What they have built is something which I would never
have expected a local council to do.

‘We have to open our blinds and look at it every day.’

Katie
suffers from bulbar palsy and other conditions that affect her motor
skills, caused by complications when she and her twin, Holly, were born
prematurely.

West
Dunbartonshire Council has not yet published the total  cost of the ramp
at the home in Clydebank, near Glasgow, but it is estimated to be about
£40,000. Now, the family want to have a gate installed to help protect
their property from youths who skateboard on the slope.

But officials have refused, citing health and safety concerns – because the gate would block a public footpath when open.

Miss Lally said: ‘A lot of youths have started using it because they think it is fun to play on it.

‘The council have said they can’t give us a gate because it would block the public footpath.

‘Is that the case for everybody else with a gate which swings outward?

‘I don’t care how the gate opens. I just want one put up.’

Yesterday, residents expressed their disbelief at the council’s actions. One older woman, who has lived in the area since 1971, said the ramp was an ‘eyesore’.

She
added: ‘When the council men came round, I asked if I could lodge an
objection but I was told I couldn’t. I was told it was going ahead.

‘It’s completely ruined the look of the area.’

A
West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said the family had indicated in
the past that they would be able to cope with the steps at the property.

He added: ‘This proved not to be the case. As they were existing tenants, it was the council’s duty to make the necessary adaptations.

‘This led to the installation of the wheelchair ramp, as requested by the family.’

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