Brain cancer sufferer’s shower wrangle

Rosalind Wightman with husband Alec
Rosalind Wightman with husband Alec

AN Aspull grandad who is suffering from terminal brain cancer has had to wait months for a shower thanks to a bizarre planning wrangle with council chiefs.

Alec Wightman, 64, has been bedridden for months on the ground floor of his home meaning he cannot get upstairs to his bathroom.

He successfully applied to Wigan Council for funding to build a portable bathroom – known as a pod because of its small size – at the rear of his St David’s Crescent home.

But incredibly the council’s own officials then refused to give the Wightmans planning permission for the project they themselves had funded.

The pod has been ordered but never been delivered and Mr Wightman has been left without shower facilities ever since.

Mr Wightman’s wife Rosalind, 56, has been forced to wash him as best she can in the family living room every day.

She said: “We were told we could apply for funding for the pod in February and we had it approved in March. The company came to measure up and it was due to be installed but then we were told that it couldn’t due to planning laws.

“The installation company said that they had never come across anything like it and we just couldn’t believe it.

“I just don’t know when Alec will get worse or anything and it has been so stressful.

“I’m sure it breaches some sort of human rights law or something.”

The Wightmans were sent an email by the council saying that the planning issue was due to be heard by the planning committee in July.

Rosalind added: “We couldn’t believe it when we read it wouldn’t be dealt with till July. Alec was diagnosed in 2011 and I just don’t know what his situation will be in July.”

Following enquiries by the Post, Wigan Council have backed down on the issue and agreed to fit the pod in the coming days.

Steve Normington, director of economy at Wigan Council, said: “We do sincerely sympathise with Mr Wightman’s situation and under the circumstances have advised the company to go ahead with the installation of the bathroom pod irrespective of planning permission.

“National planning legislation prescribes the extent to which any extension, including the pod, can protrude beyond the rear elevation of a property and the council has to apply the legislation in a consistent manner. In this case the pod protrudes beyond the current permitted amount and consequently requires planning permission.

“However, under these unfortunate circumstances we have decided to allow the pod to be installed now and will address the planning issues later. Unfortunately, while we can speed up the installation we are unable to speed up the planning process.

“The council will do everything it can to ensure a speedy delivery of the pod.”