Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

Marine offered free building work

Joe Townsend
Joe Townsend lost his legs while serving in Afghanistan

An injured marine fighting to build a specially-designed bungalow has been inundated by tradesmen offering to work for free, says his family.

Joe Townsend, 20, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, wants to build the house on land in East Sussex owned by his grandfather David Carter.

Wealden District Council rejected the proposals, calling them "intrusive" but will consider revised plans next month.

Mr Carter, 70, said his grandson was over the moon with the offers.

Approval expected

The council's planning committee voted by a slim majority to reject the planned building, incorporating a bathroom and carers' room, on land at his grandparents' home in Hankham Hall Road in Pevensey, near Eastbourne.

Gordon Brown intervened after the case was taken up by the Noel's HQ programme on Sky1, telling the show that the council "must do the right thing immediately and reconsider this case".

We have got a whole load of tradesmen offering to work for free on it
David Carter, grandfather

The Tory-controlled council said it had originally been willing to discuss a revised proposal.

A new application has been submitted and is expected to be formally approved at a planning committee meeting next month, said Mr Townsend's grandfather.

Mr Carter said: "So many people have come forward offering their help.

"We have got a whole load of tradesmen offering to work for free on it, including plasterers, tilers and builders. All of them have come forward wanting to do their bit."

Mr Carter said his grandson was "over the moon" by the public reaction, adding: "He is already on the internet looking for tiles and other things to go in the home. It's keeping him going."

Mr Townsend, who lost one leg completely and one below the knee when he stepped on a landmine has had several operations and rehabilitation at Headley Court in Surrey.

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