The local authority has been branded a jobsworth because of its continued refusal to provide a back door for a disabled tenant.
Jane Taberner (51) has been at odds with Falkirk Council over the last few months after she and husband Zander (55), who uses a wheelchair, agreed to plans to convert the ground floor of their council home in McLachlan Street, Stenhousemuir and build an extension to include a bedroom and wet room area.
To allow the extension to be created they also agreed to have their back door removed – but now, due to safety concerns, they are fighting to get a back door installed.
Jane said: “Zander was injured in a car accident 17 years ago and things have got progressively worse for him. He was basically bed-bound upstairs for six years. We originally asked the council to put in a toilet upstairs for him, but they couldn’t do that.
“Then they wanted to put a lift in my sitting room and then a chair lift, but those weren’t suitable either. We agreed on an extension to the house with a bedroom and a wet room and we agreed on the back door going, even though we didn’t really want it to.
“My husband was so ill he was getting to the point of being suicidal, so we agreed on the door being removed.”
Work commenced in September and Jane soon noticed the plans to add a window to the house and she started asking if, instead of the new window, the workers could cut down another few inches and install a door instead.
She said: “The window was not in the plans to start with. The workers have been fantastic, saying they would put in a door for us if it was allowed. The building work is still going on, it wouldn’t be any trouble to put a door in there instead of a window.
“They have put a fire window in the wet room extension which they say my husband can get out of if there is a fire, but how can a man who requires a wet room in the first place be expected to pull himself out of a window that is at waist height? “The extension is still being built so they still have time to put the door in and it wouldn’t cost any extra money – I’ve heard there are doors at the council store ready to be used. It’s not that much of a difference, just a matter of feet and inches.”
The Taberners say they raised their fire concerns with the council but were allegedly told “the fire brigade is at the top of the road” in response.
A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “We are currently building an extension at the property, to meet the health needs of Mr Taberner. This was in full consultation with Mr and Mrs Taberner.
“This consists of a bedroom and bathroom, and the plans were agreed by Mr and Mrs Taberner before works commenced. They were aware that the back door to the property would be removed.
“Although the back door has been removed, there is a fire escape window within the extension, which could be used in an emergency situation. The extension at the property complies with all relevant building and fire regulations, and the needs of Mr Taberner.”