A father from Edgware has accused council planners of "putting rules before compassion" after being denied permission to build a loft conversion to accommodate the needs of his severely disabled daughter.

Dani Katz, from Brook Avenue, had his application turned down and now has his house on the market because it is too small to house medical equipment for his two-year-old daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and cannot move or eat without help.

He planned to move his daughter, Samara, into the main bedroom downstairs and for him and his wife to use the loft as their bedroom. Samara could no longer share with her older sister, he said, because her crying was too disruptive during the night.

He said: "We needed the loft extension as we did not have space for a bedroom downstairs. Samara needs a specially designed bed to tilt upwards, a special chair and a standing frame. We would also need to extend the bathroom.

"It is a silly system. No neighbours objected to the proposal, and there are already eight visible loft extensions along our road. The whole system is upside down, putting rules before compassion.

"I would like the councillors responsible for forcing us out of our home to be asked why they chose to put architecture ahead of a sick child."

Councillors Brian Gordon and Richard Weider supported Mr Katz's application, but were unable to convince the rest of the planning committee.

Mr Gordon said: "In light of the fact that there were no objections from neighbours and the family had a desperate need to accommodate their daughter, I very much regret that the committee did not accept it. I would have expected a more sympathetic decision."

The council said permission was denied because the proposal was contrary to design guidance.

A spokesman said: "The application was for a roof extension to include a hip to gable end and rear dormer. Council planning guidelines state that hip to gable roof extensions are unacceptable.

"It is recognised that the personal circumstances of the applicant are often present in the background to the consideration of planning applications and that they may be weighed in the balance. In this case, however, the proposal is clearly contrary to design guidance."

Councillor Maureen Braun, Mayor of Barnet and chairman of the Hendon area planning sub-committee, added: "We carefully considered this application, taking into account the difficult circumstances the family are in.

"However, the application was very far from what we could possibly allow under existing planning regulations. I urge them to submit a new application with a more acceptable design, and I am sure our planning officers will work with the family to help them achieve an extra room in their home."

Mr Katz said no other design would meet their needs, but stressed his anger was not directed at the council as a whole.

He said: "The council has been incredibly good to us, but this decision stands out. What worries me is how many times a decision like this may have been taken without thinking about the individuals concerned."