A desperate Sheffield family are in ‘limbo’ after a council mix-up left them with only a half-built extension for their seriously ill son.
Grandad David Hatcher has spent £8,000 so far building a new ground floor bedroom and wetroom for his grandson Lewis, who has muscle-wasting condition muscular dystrophy and cannot walk.
Currently 12-year-old Lewis’ parents have to carry him upstairs to bed each night.
David, a builder, said he was promised the council would fund the cost of the work under a ‘disabled facility grant’ scheme – but he has now been told payments cannot be made to relatives.
David says he has been left £8,000 out of pocket already, and cannot find another builder to complete the £13,000 of work still needed to finish the extension.
Lewis’ mum Kimberley, aged 30, of Jaunty Avenue, Base Green, said the family are in ‘limbo’.
“All I want is a bedroom for Lewis. It has been a nightmare. The extension would help because we are really starting to struggle.”
“Lewis is 12 now and we have to carry him to bed.
“We were told just to get started on the work, we weren’t aware we had to wait for anything.
“We kept saying the builder was also Lewis’ grandad, that we were related, but we were told not to worry about it.”
The family say they were told to start the work – expected to cost around £21,950 in total – by a member of staff who has now left the council.
They say they were told they would receive an interim payment when half was complete.
David, of Newstead Drive, Birley, said: “I questioned several times whether I would be able to do the work, and they said I could.
“They have known all along the work was going on.
“Now they are going by the rules.”
The council said building began before paperwork was completed, and it cannot pay for work already carried out – but a grant of the £13,000 for remaining work has been agreed, as long as it is carried out by someone other than David.
But David said: “I can’t find a builder to take it on for that price.”
The council said it had met with Mr Hatcher, and confirmed grant approval has been given for the remainder of the work ‘as long as it is completed by a reputable builder’.
Suzanne Allen, head of service care and support, said: “Central Government regulations say the grant can only be made after an approval certificate is given, and payment cannot cover work undertaken by a relative.
“We make this clear but unfortunately the family had already started work before the approval process was complete.
“We regret any misunderstanding, and understand this is very stressful for them.
“We will continue to work with Mr Hatcher as a priority to reach a solution.”
An invoice for some of the building work that has been approved is also going through the payment process.