Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Soldier gets new hope on bungalow

Joe Townsend
Joe Townsend lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan

A soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan has been told he has permission in principle to build a specially adapted bungalow.

Royal Marine Joe Townsend, 20, was initially refused planning consent for the building on his grandfather's land in Pevensey, East Sussex.

The prime minister intervened and now Wealden District Council has met the family and agreed a revised plan.

Councillor Roy Galley said he hoped Mr Townsend could have the home he needed.

Mr Townsend, who lost one leg completely and one to the knee, has undergone several operations and rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey and is currently recovering from an operation at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

Signed petition

His grandfather, David Carter, 72, met the council on Tuesday morning to work out a solution.

His original application for the single-storey building in Hankham Hall Road was turned down last month, with the council saying it would discuss a revised proposal.

Since then more than 30,000 people signed a petition on the 10 Downing Street website in support of Mr Townsend.

Gordon Brown ordered the council to reconsider after the case was taken up by Noel Edmonds's Noel's HQ programme on Sky One.

The proposed bungalow site
The bungalow is proposed for a paddock on green belt land

Mr Galley said the plan agreed on Tuesday would have to go back to the planning committee.

"This morning we got a solution where Joe can have the home that he needs and deserves and we won't be driving a coach and horses through the green belt policy," he said.

"As a council we understand the sacrifices Joe has made and we are very supportive of the armed forces.

"But we also want to preserve the green belt and it is a very open site."

A statement from the council said it had agreed in principle and Mr Carter would now submit a new application.

But Mr Galley said the prime minister's intervention was "totally and utterly unhelpful".

"The government impose on us an extremely bureaucratic and complicated planning system with reams and reams of advice," he said.

"The one bit of advice we need nationally is how to help our ex-servicemen and that is not there."


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RTE Online Noel Edmonds does TV show for free - 17 hrs ago
The Sun Victory on the home front - 19 hrs ago
Rye and Battle Observer Breakthrough in battle for Joe's bungalow - 23 hrs ago
Biggleswade Chronicle Injured soldier's family to submit new bungalow plans - 31 hrs ago

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