doc

A SICK little girl will get the help she needs after a heartfelt plea to build her a new bedroom melted the hearts of councillors.

Dan and Roslyn Peake, of Albion Road, Benfleet, submitted plans to turn the family garage into a bedroom for their daughter Madeleine, who suffers with viral encephalitis.

The three-year-old, who attends special school Glenwoods, in Benfleet, was diagnosed with a virus of the brain at just three weeks old.

It left her blind and unable to walk.

To meet Madeleine’s needs, the family decided to turn their garage into a bedroom and wet room.

The plan also proposed a front ramp for easier wheelchair access to the house.

But councillors sitting on Castle Point’s development meeting were told to turn it down by planning officers, because it left the house with too few car parking spaces.

The recommendation by the officers led Mrs Peake to take to the stand at the meeting to speak directly to councillors – who in the end voted in favour of the family’s plans.

Mrs Peake, 44, said: “We were absolutely thrilled with the reaction we received from councillors. The decision will make a huge difference to Madeleine.

“I am thankful they made an exception with our case. We’re hoping to get the work started quite soon. It is something that needs to be done for Madeleine’s future.”

At the moment Mr and Mrs Peake carry Madeleine up the stairs whenever she needs to go to the bathroom or to her bedroom.

The change will mean she will be much more comfortable downstairs.

Mrs Peake said: “We completely understand why the plan was recommended for refusal, the officers have to do what is required of them and they have to take rules into consideration.

“But we did believe our situation was an exception to the rule.”

The plans will turn the house from a four-bedroom to a five-bedroom dwelling and remove the garage.

Castle Point council requires any house with two bedrooms or more to have provisions for two parking spaces and it was believed the front garden would not provide the needed space.

The report suggested the family could be persuaded to park on the road because of the lack of space the work would create in the front garden, and this could cause an inconvenience to other road users.

Mrs Peake, who is also mum to Sebastian, six, said: “We haven’t really used our garage for parking, but we did understand the point officersmade about the tight space.

“However, we will still be able to get two cars on the driveway, even if it becomes a little tighter.”

Tom Skipp, Tory councillor for Appleton ward, said: “I am very pleased theywere able to get the result they wanted and the support from councillors during the meeting.

“The plan did fall short of Castle Point requirements, but it does have a cause for exception. I amglad the decision was passed and it went through.”