‘I can’t use my drive’ anger

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A DONCASTER woman cannot park her car outside her own home because she can’t afford the cost of getting it onto the drive.

Magdalene Cook has been warned she could face eviction from her council house if she puts her Ford Fiesta on the concrete hard-standing at the front.

“It’s madness,” said 57-year-old Mrs Cook, who lives in Alexandra Road, Bentley.

“I’ve been told I must have the kerb dropped but, every time I’ve tried to save up to pay the council to do it, the price has gone up and I can no longer afford it.”

Mrs Cook is currently having to park her car some distance from her home because of underground cable roadworks in Alexandra Road, and the vehicle has been attacked by vandals.

Doncaster Council says it has to carry out dropped kerb works itself to ensure the job is done properly and safely.

“It seems unfair I have to pay for a dropped kerb when this is not my property. I had the hardstanding put down and I first enquired about a dropped kerb a few years ago when it was only about £300,” said Mrs Cook.

“Because I enquired again recently I have had a letter saying I will be in breach of my tenancy agreement if I continue to use the drive without a dropped kerb, so the car has to stay on the road.

“Two of my neighbours are in the same position and none can afford the £560 the council wants to do the job.

“If I could pay in instalments that might be better - but it has to be paid all at once.”

Mrs Cook, who is on benefits and suffers health problems, says she needs her car to get about.

Peter Dale, director of Regeneration and Environment at Doncaster Council, said: “The current cost for a standard drop kerb to be installed is £560. We do not add VAT to this price.

“The tenant first enquired and received an estimate in 2002, so understandably prices have risen since then, in part due to the rising cost of tarmac and other materials.

“Historically we did allow people to employ private contractors to undertake the work on their behalf but this resulted in a wide variation in the quality of work.

“The benefits from the council managing and carrying out the work are it can be programmed to minimise disruption to other residents, we can be sure all necessary insurance is in place, and we know the work is fully checked both while in progress and upon completion.

“Last time we compared the prices in Doncaster with other nearby authorities our charges were lower than average.”