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Thread: When councils turn bad... :-)

  1. #1

    Wink When councils turn bad... :-)

    I just had to share this... I don't want to over-sell it, but I have never laughed so hard in my life... (whilst also feeling a bit bad for the people involved)...

    A couple living with their disabled daughter in a council house (social housing) finally won a legal battle to force the local council to provide a ramp for wheelchair access. You can see the problem here (although I don't think it's a recent photo) -- quite a big front garden for a semi:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    After winning the court case, the council came along and installed the wheelchair ramp for them.

    It cost 40,000! "What's that, tiny?! Is this some kind of amazing super-ramp that effortlessly levitates the wheelchair up the stairs?" Oh, no; this is a mega-ramp with a serious attitude problem:


  2. #2

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    Forgive me but I am not currently in the housing market so what is social housing??

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cavemans View Post
    Forgive me but I am not currently in the housing market so what is social housing??
    In the U. S., I would guess, it's welfare housing, or subsidized housing. Imagine the cost, $80,000. in U. S. dollars. Wouldn't you think it would have been cheaper to relocate them. This is what happens when governments get involved with almost anything!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    In the U. S., I would guess, it's welfare housing, or subsidized housing. Imagine the cost, $80,000. in U. S. dollars. Wouldn't you think it would have been cheaper to relocate them. This is what happens when governments get involved with almost anything!
    Ok that makes sense now, thanks.

  5. #5

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    I cannot believe that. I thought the US was the biggest abuser of public funds.

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  7. #7

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    At first blush it seems absurd, as if it were a a bad joke perpetrated on the mom for annoying the powers-that-be, or perhaps a make-work project for some carpenters and ironworkers.

    If you think about it, though, there is almost certainly some kind of regulation specifying maximum degrees of incline for wheelchair ramps. Government functionaries and regulations being what they are, a less expensive and more technically elegant resolution was probably out of the question.

  8. #8
    acorn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    .......a less expensive and more technically elegant resolution was probably out of the question.
    Yeah, you've nailed it.

    The ramp does seem a little overkill at a glance, but it should be remembered that there are laws (very proactively enforced) in relation to any ramp’s structure. These laws are enabled at national level and not open to variation at local council level. They will include; 1/ The fall of a ramp - it cannot be too steep. 2/ Type of surface - has to be non-slip. 3/ Safety rails and hand rails. I don't build these, so knowledge of the finer details are not to hand.

    The story as presented is very skewed, missing are the constraints placed on the council under those circumstances. There seems to be no mention of the council attempting to relocate the family, this is usually a consideration. This is only hinted at with a reference to the statement that the family are pre-existing tenants at that address. It would appear that somebody rejected that option for whatever un-stated reason.

    My best guess is based from following all the links that Tiny provided, it would appear that the area has a lot of housing on a hilly terrain. If this is so for that particular council, there may not have been an option to provide more appropriate alternative accommodation - for demand of the local mobility disabled would outstrip the local council ability to supply.

    Since relocation of the family is not an option, it still leaves the question in that case: how do you provide disabled access to a front door that is in excess of ten feet higher than the public pavement or sidewalk. Your proffered solution cannot under any circumstances be a once-off, as the general population in Britain is an aging one.

  9. #9

    Smile



    Quote Originally Posted by cavemans View Post
    Forgive me but I am not currently in the housing market so what is social housing??
    Ah... I thought "social housing" was the American term! It's called a "council house" in the UK as it's owned and managed by the local council and rented to families who can't afford to rent or buy in the private market. Many (most?) council house residents will be in receipt of benefits (welfare payments) to subsidise the rent or to pay for assistance needed as a result of disability, or provide a state pension.

    The council has a legal obligation to provide to provide suitable housing, so in this case, they need to provide a house with wheelchair access.



    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    At first blush it seems absurd, as if it were a a bad joke perpetrated on the mom for annoying the powers-that-be, or perhaps a make-work project for some carpenters and ironworkers.

    If you think about it, though, there is almost certainly some kind of regulation specifying maximum degrees of incline for wheelchair ramps. Government functionaries and regulations being what they are, a less expensive and more technically elegant resolution was probably out of the question.
    Oh, I know... I didn't want to over-think it, it just made me laugh when I saw the photos!

    Anyway, I don't know how much the two-year court case cost the public, but, in addition to the 40k for the ramp, surely it would have been cheaper to relocate them?!

    I also wonder if there might have been some way to install a lift instead of a ramp. A top-of-the range lift would cost around US$15k according to the 2nd link below. Even if it cost around 30k to install, it would still work out cheaper!

    Home Kite
    How Much Does a Wheelchair Lift Cost?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    Ah... I thought "social housing" was the American term! It's called a "council house" in the UK as it's owned and managed by the local council and rented to families who can't afford to rent or buy in the private market. Many (most?) council house residents will be in receipt of benefits (welfare payments) to subsidise the rent or to pay for assistance needed as a result of disability, or provide a state pension.

    The council has a legal obligation to provide to provide suitable housing, so in this case, they need to provide a house with wheelchair access.
    "social housing" is a general term that includes traditional council owned and managed housing, but since the 1980s there's been a proliferation of Housing Associations and other types of housing that is provided to people eligible for subsidised housing, but can be owned and/or run by private companies, non-profit companies, charities ect. ect.



    Anyway, I don't know how much the two-year court case cost the public, but, in addition to the 40k for the ramp, surely it would have been cheaper to relocate them?!
    I'm guessing that either they didn't want to be relocated, or there was no vacant social housing available that was any better suited (times and house building in the last 20 years being what they are/were.) It's Scotland so flat bit's are at a premium :-p

    As always in local government, there's probably a "best practice" rule that's been foisted on you by some higher authority that means the best solution is not allowed...

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