Disabled man’s victory in St Albans council cash battle

A DISABLED tenant has accepted a settlement from the council after years of trying to claim back the money he spent on installing a mobility scooter shed which the district council was asked to provide for him.

Fred Banagan, of Jersey Farm, paid for the structure in his rear garden after over two years of wrangling with the council over where it should be positioned.

Badly injured in 2001, Mr Banagan, now aged 49, was forced to move in with his mother in 2006 after his mobility deteriorated so much that he couldn’t look after himself while his wife Vivian was at work.

Adult Care Services later assessed his needs and asked the district council to make essential alterations to his Newgate Close maisonette.

They included a waterproof shed in the garden to house his mobility scooter along with a concrete path along the side of his property and a gate into the garden for access.

But the district council wanted to put a metal shed at the front of the property and a concrete base was laid. However, it covered three stopcocks belonging to Veolia and had to be removed – not before it caused drainage issues and resulted in Mr Banagan’s kitchen later needing to be replaced.

Although the council eventually agreed to position the scooter shed in the garden, Mr Banagan claims he was forced to take out a doorstep loan to fund the �600 work himself.

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He wanted to pursue the matter in court but settled for a �665 payment from the council before Christmas, which amounted to �500 once his solicitors fees were subtracted.

Mr Banagan said: “It has dragged on for four years and I just feel let down by the council. The front of my property was dug up seven times and some of those times it would have cost �100 or �200, and as a result they’ve had to replace a kitchen at around �6,000.”

“I’m glad to be reimbursed for the money which I shouldn’t have had to spend on adaptations. I’m glad matters have now been brought to a close but I shouldn’t have had to ever go through it, myself and my wife.”

A spokesperson for the district council said: “Following mediation, the council reached agreement with Mr Banagan in connection with his scooter store and paid �665 following the ongoing issues raised by him.

“The council has endeavoured on many occasions to satisfy Mr Banagan’s requirements and is happy to confirm that various other adaptation works to Mr Banagan’s kitchen, bathroom and garden have been successfully completed to enable Mr Banagan to lead an independent lifestyle.

“The council is satisfied that it has complied with all of its statutory obligations at all times in this matter.”