Published: 15:49, 03 June 2019
| Updated: 15:51, 03 June 2019
A disabled woman was refused a spot on a council's housing register despite being rendered housebound because her home is not accessible using a wheelchair.
Thanet District Council dismissed an application by a mother and her disabled daughter for a new home, saying their hilly neighbourhood "would not constitute a need to move".
However, in a ruling published last week, the Local Government Ombudsman found the council failed to take into account letters sent by the disabled daughter's GP saying she "urgently needs to live in a more supportive environment".
It also found the council was "at fault" after it claimed it had not been made aware of the hilly terrain or how it impacted the family's ability to live in their current home.
The ombudsman said the issue was raised by the mother more than once.
The mother and daughter, who were not named in the ombudsman's report, explained they struggle to get out of their house because the daughter's health problems leave her needing a wheelchair.
The wheelchair is "self-propelled" but the daughter is unable to push herself because of the hills in the area.
Both mother and daughter asked the council whether it is possible to move nearer to other family members for help.
Her mother successfully filed a complaint about the council's decision to the Local Government Ombudsman.
An investigator, on behalf of the ombudsman, wrote: "I cannot say whether they should be included on the housing register, that is for the council to decide.
"However, based on the information I have seen, I am not satisfied the council has properly considered all the information they provided because the notes and review letter make no reference to how the council considered the GP letters and occupational therapist letter they provided."
A letter from their GP to the council had been provided, which detailed how a move would be good for their health.
It stated the mother had "significant enduring mental health problems and urgently needs to relocate to get support for herself and her daughter".
The doctor added: "This lady urgently needs to live in a more supportive environment and I would strongly suggest, from a medical perspective, that this is treated as an urgent priority."
The pair also claimed the bathroom is "in a state of disrepair" making it hard for the disabled woman to wash.
However, the ombudsman found the state of the bathroom was the responsibility of the housing association, which is outside of the council's jurisdiction.
"This lady urgently needs to live in a more supportive environment and I would strongly suggest, from a medical perspective, that this is treated as an urgent priority..." - GP
To address these concerns, the council offered to have another occupational therapist review and apply for a grant to pay for adaptations of their home.
A month after the ombudsman's decision, the council put the pair on the housing register.
A spokesman for the council said: "Thanet District Council cooperated fully with the Local Government Ombudsman throughout their investigation and accepts its findings.
"We strive to offer our customers the best service we can and have fully reviewed the LGO report in order to implement any possible improvements.
"We have completed the specific actions recommended in the report."