'New house will help disabled six-year-old'

'New house will help disabled six-year-old'

Reporter:

Katherine Denham

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'New house will help disabled six-year-old'

The uncle of a six-year-old girl with a severe physical disability has won a battle to build a specially adapted home after three years of campaigning.

In the past 27 years, four applications to build on the plot of land have been refused on the grounds that the site in Summerleaze Road is at high risk of flooding.

This is the second time Saleem Ahmed has submitted an application to build a house for his niece Umme-Habibah Tariq, who has muscular dystrophy, a genetic condition that causes the muscles to weaken.

The three-bed house would be built with a lift shaft, hand rails and a hydraulic platform for wheelchair access to help Umme-Habibah who needs constant care from her parents, Saalma Bibi and Imran Tariq.

Saleem, 34, said: "My niece's illness gets worse by the day and she has to be carried up and down the stairs.

"Getting permission for the house has been really stressful and it’s brilliant that now we can move on.

"Many people with this illness die around the age of 20. We just want to make her life the best it can be."

Letters from medical professionals were sent to the borough in support of the application.

In one letter, Ruth Haslett, a clinical nurse from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, says a house with adaptations would be an 'ideal solution to the family's current situation'.

Saleem, who owns taxi firm Imperial Executive Cars in Denmark Street, Maidenhead, will be funding the development with help from his three brothers.

The new home will be built close to the extended family who will be able to help take care of Umme-Habibah.

"This will change her life and make it so much easier," said Saleem.

During a meeting of the Royal Borough Maidenhead development control panel on Wednesday, July 30, planning officer Suki Coe said: "We are concerned about putting vulnerable people in a flood risk and causing stress and strain to the family."

Officers recommended refusal on the grounds of flood risk but councillors voted to approve the application, subject to the house being raised 300mm above the ground and an evacuation plan being put in place in the event of a flood.

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