This blog follows the purchase and adaptation of a house for my client Belle who due to medical negligence was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and now needs help with all her daily needs and will do so for the rest of her life. Fortunately, she comes from a loving and caring family who have now come to the end of a claim covering the last nine years. It has been a traumatic journey.
Today I visited the most beautiful detached five bedroom house in the sun-kissed gardens of Kent. I am the financial deputy for Belle who is now nine years of age. This house has been purchased from her compensation claim.
The initial meeting was with myself, Belle’s parents, the architect and the housing occupational therapist and we discussed what Belle’s parents wanted to do, how as a team we could make this work and how I would be able to manage the budget and manage expectations.
The occupational therapist was able to provide sound advice on the sensory room, therapy room, carers’ accommodation as well as Belle’s bedroom and en suite. It was important to decide where these should be placed. Storage was also crucial as you can never have enough storage! The architect commented on plans going forward, timescales, estimated costs and what could be done in the initial stages of this project. I wanted them all to consider a disabled facility grant now as this is a state benefit worth up to £30,000 and could be used to really benefit Belle especially as the budget is tight.
The most important tips we took away that day were:
- Any changes to the plans once drawn up, no matter how minor, must be discussed with the architect first and then with me as deputy so that we would try to keep on budget as even small changes can have a major impact.
- To make sure that any plans for the future which may impact the property are declared to the architect as soon as possible as we may be able to take them into account now and potentially save money. It was then that a hydro pool was mentioned!
We are fortunate to already have plans submitted for the ground floor but the family wish to extend upstairs as well so the first thing we had to do was agree the plans very roughly and then leave it to the architect to work his magic and produce detailed plans. We should have these in around two weeks’ time and once agreed the architect will submit them for approval to the planning department. He asked for a copy of their Blue Badge as he may be able to get a reduction or exemption on the planning fee. A useful point to be aware of!
Looking around, I could see that this beautiful house was going to be torn down and totally gutted but equally I knew that we were about to embark on a really exciting project to produce a home that met Belle’s needs, a house desperately needed after years of waiting and a dream home for life.