Could someone help me with this query or provide me some advice.
About 5 years ago a neighbouring property (Domestic House) had an access ramp installed to enable wheelchair disabled access to the property for an elderly lady with mobility problems. Within the last couple of weeks the owners of the property had this ramp has been removed and to enable the construction of a large driveway and now the only access to the front door of the property is down 8 steps so in effect the lady at this property no longer has a wheelchair access. I have been through Part M of the building regulations and the accompanying guidance note and although Part M of the Building Regs is mainly for new dwellings, the guidance note states that the access to the property cannot be made less satisfactory than before. The government planning portal also states that access to properties cannot be made less satisfactory.
I have talked to the local council building control surveyor and explain this to him but he maintains that removal of this ramp is permitted and it is not covered at all by building Regs. I told him that both the Government Planning portal and the guidance note for Part M state that this would be subject to building Regs, but his reply to that was that they were wrong and he was right. He categorically stated that no building controls exist that would cover this and that no action can be taken to either make the owners reinstate the disabled access ramp or provide another suitable means of access to the property.
The guidance note states that “if access provisions are made worse, then suitable modifications will have to be made to comply with Part M (this applies whether or not the dwelling was built under previous Part M controls)”. I once again told him this and was told the guidance note is wrong.
Does anybody have any experience on matters like this or can anyone provide me with advice as to where I can get further information that I can present to the Building Surveyor.
Approved Doc M only relates to new dwellings, not extensions or alterations. The fitting of the ramp was an alteration not covered under the Building Regulations, (i.e no application was required) therefore removal of the ramp is not a contravention of such.
If the ramp was fitted to a shop/office as part of a Building Regulation application, the ramp could not be made worse or removed.
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