Family left devastated as plans to adapt home for daughter are refused

Neil Scott with his daughter Amelia.
Neil Scott with his daughter Amelia.

A family has been left devastated after being told they cannot adapt their home to improve their disabled daughter’s life.

Neil and Donna Scott bought a property in Darras Hall with the intention of adapting it to help care for their six-year-old daughter Amelia who suffers from the rare condition Jacobsen Syndrome.

We pulled together to save up to get this house and the mortgage to make life easier for my family and my daughter but we have been left devastated by this decision.

Neil Scott

But despite the plans being approved by Northumberland County Council, they were knocked back by the Darras Hall Estate Committee after they received three objections.

The family, who moved from Chapel Park in Newcastle to Darras Hall, had drawn up plans to convert the garage into a bedroom so the couple could be next to their daughter’s ground floor bedroom.

Neil, 32, said: “We pulled together to save up to get this house and the mortgage to make life easier for my family and my daughter but we have been left devastated by this decision.

“When we submitted the plans, the committee gave the indication we would be able to do it.

“We knew a decision was going to be made last month so when I spoke to the committee they said there were three objections.

“A further meeting was held last Monday but they refused the plans as the plans for the bedroom are close to the boundary line, but by a very small amount. Other extensions have been approved which are closer to boundary lines.

“We’re not trying to get a very big house, we are just after a house that is big enough for our needs.

“The planning officer from Northumberland County Council had already been out to the site, and despite two objections, was happy with the plans.”

The family, who are renting another property in Darras Hall while the wait to start work on their new home, say they are touched by the public support they have received.

A social media campaign – #helpameliashome – has received support from people as far away as America and Australia.

And an online petition calling for the Committee to reverse their decision has been signed by 4,500 people.

Neil, also father to 12-year-old Fay, said: “It’s brilliant the support we have received. Everyone has been very supportive.”

Jacobsen syndrome is a very rare genetic condition affecting one in every 100,000 people but Amelia’s particular variation is only known in one other boy in America.

Amelia has undergone open heart surgery, bowel surgery, three knee reconstructions, three feet operations, and two operations on her eyes. She is sensitive to light and is fed through a tube in her stomach.

She is unable to walk and wears splints all day while has growth hormone injections every day.

Neil added: “Despite all of this, Amelia loves life and always has a smile on her face.

“Every day is hard for Amelia. At the moment she can see we’re all different and emotionally attached to this.

“It’s a strain on me and my wife to keep this together for our family.”

The Committee were not available for comment.

• To sign the online petition visit www.change.org/p/darras-hall-estate-committee-for-darras-hall-estate-committe-to-reverse-thier-decision-on-the-scotts-application