Disabled girl's Paralympic dream 'could be wrecked'

Rebecca Griffin, step mum Suzie Figgins and dad Tony Griffin

Rebecca Griffin, step mum Suzie Figgins and dad Tony Griffin

First published in News Exclusive by

A DISABLED teenage archer could risk missing out on her paralympic dream after concerns were raised about a make-shift target range in the garden.

15-year-old Rebecca Griffin, from Benfleet, has cerebral palsy and her family were devastated after they were told the range built by her dad was in jeopardy.

The family, of Clarence Road, were contacted by a Castle Point Council planning officer last month and were told the council had received complaints after the 10m by 2m wooden shed was built to shield her from the wind.

Rebecca’s dad Tony said he was told a building less than 15 square metres could go anywhere in the garden although if it was over that it had to be one metre away from any boundary.

Mr Griffin, 43, said: “I was disappointed and annoyed to be told by the council that the obstruction was an eyesore. Obviously I didn’t intend it to be built to be an eyesore but to help Rebecca practice on a day-to-day basis, which is what she will need to do if she wants to go to the Paralympic Games.

“I wanted to make her something that would mean she could practice safely and without intrusion. If people are concerned about it I would be happy to speak to them directly but it is a shame they went straight to the council.

“I will always support Rebecca and try to help her in any way I can.”

Rebecca is one of the country’s most promising archers. She is currently being fastracked through a specialised programme and could compete at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, representing Archery GB, and trains at Lilleshall National Sports Centre, in Shropshire, Rebecca has had cerebral palsy since she was 18 months old but discovered her love for archery in an inter-school sports day at Thundersley Primary School.

She has been a member of Chelmsford Tudor Rose Archers for the previous four years and has designs on representing Great Britain in the coming months.

The Echo asked Castle Point Council for a response and they confirmed permission was granted for a garage back in 2011, although Mr Griffin denied this.

The council added a neighbour had complained about the height but no further action was taken and it was “unlikely to take further action” meaning the building could stay.

Comments (6)

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10:11am Mon 28 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

Petty bureaucracy and petty neighbours jeopardising the hopes of a promising athlete.

Perhas the Council could find a way to help rather than hinder this young woman in her aspirations.

Olympics legacy my arse...
Petty bureaucracy and petty neighbours jeopardising the hopes of a promising athlete. Perhas the Council could find a way to help rather than hinder this young woman in her aspirations. Olympics legacy my arse... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 12

10:13am Mon 28 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

So the title suggests her dream could be wreaked...then at the end it says The Council will take no further action meaning it can stay...more confusion, and best of luck with the sport, and agreed the neighbour should have spoken to the family, now its probably made relations worse, and its not the best photo that shows the structure just looks like an extra bit of fence but its hard to make out and don't look an eyesore either.
So the title suggests her dream could be wreaked...then at the end it says The Council will take no further action meaning it can stay...more confusion, and best of luck with the sport, and agreed the neighbour should have spoken to the family, now its probably made relations worse, and its not the best photo that shows the structure just looks like an extra bit of fence but its hard to make out and don't look an eyesore either. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 12

1:20pm Mon 28 Apr 14

poortaxpayer says...

Here is how it went:-

Council received complaint about an illegal erection.

Council are duty bound to visit property and view alleged illegal erection to see if any breaches of the planning regulations have taken place (we would be first to complain if the Council sat back and did nothing about a residents complaint wouldn't we. The Council have to visit as they can't use telepathy to see how big the erection is).

Council decide back yard erection is okay and they won't be taking any action to remove the erection.

Everybody should be happy - life can continue as before -disabled child can continue shooting arrows to her hearts content.

Parents of disabled child moan to Echo.
Here is how it went:- Council received complaint about an illegal erection. Council are duty bound to visit property and view alleged illegal erection to see if any breaches of the planning regulations have taken place (we would be first to complain if the Council sat back and did nothing about a residents complaint wouldn't we. The Council have to visit as they can't use telepathy to see how big the erection is). Council decide back yard erection is okay and they won't be taking any action to remove the erection. Everybody should be happy - life can continue as before -disabled child can continue shooting arrows to her hearts content. Parents of disabled child moan to Echo. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 5

2:06pm Mon 28 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

well if that is how it went at least i(and all those that didn't) now know we have a future Olympic champ in our midst, maybe just written in a confusing manor and we didn't get the full sp, wouldn't be the first time.
well if that is how it went at least i(and all those that didn't) now know we have a future Olympic champ in our midst, maybe just written in a confusing manor and we didn't get the full sp, wouldn't be the first time. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 5

3:34pm Mon 28 Apr 14

poortaxpayer says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
well if that is how it went at least i(and all those that didn't) now know we have a future Olympic champ in our midst, maybe just written in a confusing manor and we didn't get the full sp, wouldn't be the first time.
At least the dispute regarding the large erection has been resolved hopefully to the full satisfaction of all parties involved.
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: well if that is how it went at least i(and all those that didn't) now know we have a future Olympic champ in our midst, maybe just written in a confusing manor and we didn't get the full sp, wouldn't be the first time.[/p][/quote]At least the dispute regarding the large erection has been resolved hopefully to the full satisfaction of all parties involved. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 5

9:58pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

The key word here is "could".

Looks like it's staying so fair enough.

As for a neighbour complaining, obviously somebody spiteful and nasty, especially if they know this girl is training for the next paralympics.

Therefore my contempt is for the nitpicker who complained rather than the council.
The key word here is "could". Looks like it's staying so fair enough. As for a neighbour complaining, obviously somebody spiteful and nasty, especially if they know this girl is training for the next paralympics. Therefore my contempt is for the nitpicker who complained rather than the council. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

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