Council Fines Woman For Removing Heavy Door From Her
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 28, 2005
THRUPP, ENGLAND--An Oxford University pharmacology professor has said she might choose to go to jail rather than pay £2,100 ($3,600 US) in fines for putting a plastic door on her home that she can open.
Alison Brading, 66, who has used a wheelchair since she contracted polio as a child, has lived in the same historic cottage for the past 30 years. But she found the 18th Century wooden front door to be so heavy she often could not open it and had to call on neighbors to let her out.
So nine years ago, she replaced the door with a lightweight plastic one that she says she thought blended in well with the building's architectural style.
"I had it changed so that I could get out of my house," she told the BBC.
The Chewell District Council discovered the switch in 2001, and proceeded to fine her for not first applying for government permission to alter the building's appearance.
Last Wednesday, local magistrates again ordered Brading to change the door, then added a new fine and ordered her to also pay prosecution costs.
Brading continues to protest, saying that being confined in her home behind a heavy door might not be much different than being confined in a jail.
"If it came to changing the door or going to jail, I might choose jail," she explained.
"Professor fined for changing door" (BBC News)
"Battle of cottage door ends in fine for Oxford don" (The Times)