Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Marine wins battle for bungalow

Joe Townsend
Joe Townsend lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan

A badly injured marine who was fighting to build a bungalow on his grandparents' land has won his battle after a council approved the plans.

Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron had both called on Wealden Council to approve the application by Joe Townsend, 20, in Pevensey, Sussex.

Mr Townsend's mother, Deborah Hawkins, 47, said her son was elated.

Mr Townsend lost one leg completely and one below the knee when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan.

He has had several operations and rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey, and will have more surgery this month.

'Enormous pressure'

Mrs Hawkins, from Eastbourne, said: "It is absolutely fantastic news. Joe is really excited about it all.

"Hopefully this will mean that although it has been tough for us, it will help other injured servicemen and women in the future."

Following the council meeting which approved the revised plans, Tory councillor Roy Galley said the authority had been under "enormous pressure" to back down.

He criticised Mr Brown's intervention saying he had made demands which were impossible to meet under planning law.

Mr Galley said: "I have to say that I believe that the outcome would have been the same.

We will be judged as a country by the manner that we look after our injured servicemen and women
Councillor Charles Peck

"I think we would have found an acceptable solution but it would be silly to say that we haven't moved at speed as a result of that pressure."

But Councillor Stephen Shing said the case highlighted problems providing accommodation for disabled servicemen and women.

Councillor Charles Peck said: "I do hope that the outpouring of public interest, which has been welcome, will be noted and not ignored by our government.

"We will be judged as a country by the manner that we look after our injured servicemen and women."

The original plans for a 400 sq m two-storey chalet bungalow were described as intrusive by the council.

The approved design for a single-storey 209 sq m bungalow in a different position has no accommodation in the roof space.

The decision is subject to consultation until 13 March.


Wealden District Council originally turned down the original plans for a home for Joe Townsend

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