No ramp for Buckhaven man

James McGair with his wife Mary and son Paul
James McGair with his wife Mary and son Paul

A BUCKHAVEN man says he does not know where to turn next after Fife Council refused to install an access ramp for his wheelchair-bound father.

Paul McGair (41) lives on West High Street, and says he first approached the council around six months ago about the installation of a ramp to transport his father from the house to the car.

Paul’s father James (72) is suffering from prostate cancer and is now practically blind due to complications from diabetes.

Paul, who was made redundant last year and now acts as the primary care giver for his mother and father, says a ramp would have made life much easier for both him and his dad.

“Right now, if I want to take my dad out, because the houses are on the shore I need to push him up a steep hill, back down, down one step and across paving which is extremely uneven.

“There have been a couple of times when dad’s chair has actually caught on one of the slabs and he has almost come flying out of his chair.

“It is pretty treacherous pushing him along there, especially in the wet weather.

“It’s probably about 200 yards, but with a ramp, that would only be about 40.”

Things got as far as the planning application stage, but last week, Paul was told the installation wouldn’t be going ahead because it had been deemed too expensive.

“Initially, I was told it would probably cost around £8000, but now they are saying it will be £15,000, and that’s too much.”

Paul is now concerned about the state of the slabs near to the house, as he was told these would be fixed as part of the ramp installation.

Bill Campbell, area housing team leader, said: “There is already access from Mr McGair’s house to the street so there is no requirement for the Council to alter anything but, passing the property one day, one of our officers wondered if it might be possible to replace some steps close to the house with a ramp, to make access quicker and easier.

“We followed the idea up by getting plans and costings worked out. The ramp would cost around £15,000 and, while it would be nice to put this in place for our tenant, unfortunately we haven’t got enough money to take this work forward at the moment, when it’s not essential.”