Shed-dwellers evicted by planners to live on State benefits

Daniel and Lora Newman on their small-holding at Carharrack
Newly homeless family could be living a good life
A family’s dream of living off-grid is in tatters after they lost a four-year planning battle.

Daniel and Lora Newman, of Trelowen, Carharrack bid to become self sufficient. But last week they have been forced to demolish thei home in order to avoid jail.

At a hearing at Truro Magistrates Court, the couple were given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,500 towards Cornwall Council’s court costs.

Ahead of the court date, Mr Newman, with the help of family and friends, pulled down the house.which was built in a field in open countryside without planning permission. He said they would now be moving to live and work in France.

An online petition backing the couple saw over 1,000 sign in support. Writing on their Facebook page – which has gained a huge following – Mr Newman said their five-metre by six metre cabin was gone. “Well today was the big day that we were definitely not looking forward to.

“We have spent Monday through to Wednesday night taking down our cabin with the help of my family. It felt such a shame to take it down but we really had no choice.”

The couple built the two bedroom wooden cabin in their field on the edge of Carharrack village in 2009 without planning permission.

They had moved to the three-quarters-of-an-acre site to lead a self-sufficient life. However, the council took enforcement action after the Newmans continued living in the property with their two children for more than four years. This was despite repeated warnings that they did not have the correct full planning consent.

Cornwall Council said it only moved to take enforcement action as a last resort.

Hayley Jewels, the council’s enforcement group leader, said: “The house was built in an unsustainable location where planning permission would certainly not have been granted.

“The house was built in an open countryside location.

“Planning policies advise that housing should be situated within settlements and that isolated homes in the countryside will require special justification, such as an essential need for a rural worker to live at their place of work which, in this instance, was not the case.

“The council has tried to resolve this matter with the landowners since 2009, however this was unsuccessful and the council was left with no alternative but to issue the enforcement notice and when this was not complied with, take court action.” More than 1,000 people signed an online petition supporting the couple’s desire to stay but the council took legal action after they breached two enforcement notices.

‘Isolated homes in the country require special justification’ Hayley Jewels, of Cornwall Council

6 Responses

  1. “an essential need for a rural worker to live at their place of work… ! which, in this instance, was not the case.” This very statement is a direct contradiction to itself.
    I sincerely feel for the family, as, for them tearing down their home would have felt like a distorted form of soul torture
    If I could help them I would. Can YOU?

  2. I propose this. Relax planning laws completely. Make it a matter of personal responsibility. Sure, if something poses a risk to others it should be restricted. But only then. If the house falls in on the occupants and kills them, then council is entitled to take a ‘I Told You So’ tax. In terms of rates, council is only entitled to take fees to reasonably cover shared infrastructure–if you don’t have waste management services, you don’t get charged for it.

  3. This is that Agenda 21 crap, the government wants everyone living in a city. It’s a back door way for the United Nations to take control of a country and the people in it. They want people to become slaves to the Government and to ask permission for everything.

  4. It is THEIR land! They are not disturbing neighbours, holding raves and not costing the council anything. I hate these laws – they are for money grabbing, pencil pushing men in beige cardigans that make the rules. I hope this family get over this ordeal :)

  5. If there is any one thing in the whole world that should not “require special justification” it is “isolated homes in the country”!

    That should be the thing humans are most inalienably entitled to do!

  6. Sadly this is allowed to go on in this ‘ free country ‘
    Can to still live in a house that’s finished in a day and fire lit in that part of England or is that a myth ? One has to be very cunning to stay ahead of the local council who are all paid out of our taxes, there’s loads of advice on how to get away with off-grid living in the uk, these guys who I have every sympathy with have just gone ahead ignoring it which also never works ! Things in France won’t be any better but good luck guys

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