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Injunction To Move By The End The Of Month

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A COUPLE living an "off-grid" lifestyle say they face prison unless they move from their own land in Willand and return to an existence in the benefits trap.

Stig and Dinah Mason bought Muxbeare Orchard after a sudden windfall allowed them to quit their impoverished lives on a Hertfordshire council estate two years ago.

The Masons have transformed what they described as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables, chickens for egg production and an orchard they have regenerated by planting around 14 new apple trees of various species.

The couple, who have two boys, aged eight and nine, say because they moved onto the site in order to work the land, Mid Devon District Council is turfing them off as officers do not consider them to be conserving an agricultural area.

They faced magistrates on March 31 when they were served with an injunction to leave within 28 days from June 1.

Dinah, 35, who spent a year with her husband clearing four-foot high nettles and thistles which engulfed the four-acre site, said: "How anybody can say the orchard was being conserved before is beyond my comprehension."

Dinah works while Stig, 34, as well as making sure the children get to school on time, tends to the land on a daily basis where peas, potatoes, garlic, strawberries, raspberries and various produce have been growing since 2009.

Vegetarians Stig and Dinah claim council officers offered them bed and breakfast accommodation in Cullompton at taxpayers' expense and suggested they live on take aways, which are likely to cost around £20 for each family meal.

Dinah's income currently provides the family with everything they need which they cannot grow themselves but is unlikely to stretch to cover kennelling costs for their dog, Moo.

They say they currently receive no state hand-outs but by giving up their "off grid" way of life, they fear they will end up in a council house, claiming housing and council tax benefits, as well as seeking grants to help pay for high utility bills.

Stig, chairman of the Willand Composting Scheme and a member of the primary school's PTFA, sells eggs, produce, and hopefully cider in the future but explained that planning permission to live and work on the land was refused in 2009 which they are appealing against.

He said one of the council's reasons for refusal was based on a belief the couple had did not have a "sound enough business plan."

As well as plans to sell more produce locally, the couple say it is only likely to take them a further two years to get to a stage where they will be able to grow six to eight months' worth of vegetables.

Dinah, who is a community care worker, cub leader and also a member of the PTFA, said: "To live in an agricultural area you need to have a financial need, but this gives us enough to live on, but our whole ethos is not about making money.

"The council is saying by us living here it becomes mixed-use and is therefore no longer deemed agricultural."

Dinah was bequeathed money from the sudden death of her aunt and £47,000 was spent on the land to create the smallholding where wood burners and solar panels provide their energy needs.

Dinah said removing them from their land will render them homeless and is concerned they will have to pull their children out of Willand Primary School if they have to move out of the area.

But several people from across the country have written to the council in support of the family's retention.

Anne Wallington, whose family has had an interest in the village for 44 years, wrote to the council in support of the Masons by praising their hard work in reclaiming what was "rapidly becoming derelict land." David Thompson, who also lives in the village, said "they are trying to live up to the Government's pledge to take better care of the environment and this is the last orchard in the vicinity of Willand."

John Clarke, planning enforcement officer, said: "To get planning permission to move onto agricultural land, you have to prove first there is a need for someone to live there, for example, to tend livestock and look after crops, and second, that the enterprise can provide living income for at least one worker.

"Neither condition was met and therefore took the necessary action to protect the nature of the rural landscape and prevent unlawful habitation."

The council said it cannot comment on individual cases of housing need and said bed and breakfast accommodation is offered if people are homeless.

The sad part of all this is that the original hippy generation who are now in positions of power will be jailing these two for their lifestyle choice.

Fvcked.

Edited by cashinmattress

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If people were able just to buy land and lead sustainable lives for a quarter of the cost of modern living how would we persuade them to live their lives paying interest to already rich people.

They must be stopped at all costs.

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The sad part of all this is that the original hippy generation who are now in positions of power will be jailing these two for their lifestyle choice.

Fvcked.

Well done Masons. More people should do the same, all over the country. Thousands of people. Civil disobedience.

Ideal? No, of course not. Ideally we would have a fair and competent planning system. But since this is totally impossible, even a quasi-anarchic situation such as this is preferable. Feck it.

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We can't have people who don't pay taxes, who don't have an address, who don't work for the "greater good" of the economy, who barter, who are off grid.

They are a threat to "civilised" society, in fact they are terrorists. If you are not part of the pyramid you are a problem.

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If you want to support then submit it to digg.com post the link on facebook etc and google plus 1 it via a search engine ETC

Plus email the local paper about it.

Edited by SarahBell

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Where do they go to school? Do they use any roads. Blah blah blah etc etc etc

Anyway, where would we be if everyone thought they could just buy a piece of land and park a lorry in it to live in.

Under the same bridge you author these annoying comments from?

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We can't have people who don't pay taxes, who don't have an address, who don't work for the "greater good" of the economy, who barter, who are off grid.

They are a threat to "civilised" society, in fact they are terrorists. If you are not part of the pyramid you are a problem.

Why not? We've got plenty of monarchy, politicos, banks and corporate entities who pay nowt but take huge liberties with the common wealth of this nation.

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Where do they go to school? Do they use any roads. Blah blah blah etc etc etc

Anyway, where would we be if everyone thought they could just buy a piece of land and park a lorry in it to live in.

Hi there, hotairmail / Chicken Little,

Yes, it would be messy, but not as exploitative and inefficient and unfair as the current system. As I wrote above, feck it, anything is better than the current system, a de facto nation-wide Highland Clearances.

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Indeed...if you utilise any part of it without contributing, you are like a barnacle to its hull and must be scraped off.

I've come across this sort of argument before when discussing living off grid.

They use schools, roads, doctors blah blah but they do contribute. Their contribution is not being a drain on the state.

How much do wayne and waynetta contribute from their council house, how much do their 5 kids contribute?

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I've come across this sort of argument before when discussing living off grid.

They use schools, roads, doctors blah blah but they do contribute. Their contribution is not being a drain on the state.

How much do wayne and waynetta contribute from their council house, how much do their 5 kids contribute?

Besides the wife has a paid job, so they already pay VAT, and if she earns above the thresholds she will pay income tax and NIC. And they are raising children that can have "normal careers" in the future. After all, these children parents are better role models now than if they were on benefits.

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Besides the wife has a paid job, so they already pay VAT, and if she earns above the thresholds she will pay income tax and NIC. And they are raising children that can have "normal careers" in the future. After all, these children parents are better role models now than if they were on benefits.

I dont think that there will be anything 'normal' about those kids :lol:

I am surprised that you are not in favour of them being removed. 4 acres for one family is a terrible waste, they could concrete the whole lot and build enough shitboxes to house half the county on that :D

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I dont think that there will be anything 'normal' about those kids :lol:

I am surprised that you are not in favour of them being removed. 4 acres for one family is a terrible waste, they could concrete the whole lot and build enough shitboxes to house half the county on that :D

IMPO the best housing solution for most of the country would be spacious green suburbs. But knowing how tight these NIMBYs are, and the "Protect Rural England" lobby, supported be the BBC/media, then realistically I settle for simple terraces.

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I've come across this sort of argument before when discussing living off grid.

They use schools, roads, doctors blah blah but they do contribute. Their contribution is not being a drain on the state.

How much do wayne and waynetta contribute from their council house, how much do their 5 kids contribute?

Spot on.

The system is rotten.

Sadly, Lammas and these folk will be moved on and back into mainstream life for their 'own benefit' whilst Wayne and Waynetta (who think that working in McDonalds is "beneath them") sponge every penny they can off the system so that they can fill their diabetes ridden corpses with more fast food and raise a litter of illiterate feral kids into society.

Never mind the troughers in politics, local government and financial services.

Enough.

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On the face of it, it is just idiot bureaucracy and dumb planning law.

But at a more fundamental level, it is an indication of how powerful the system is and how vigerously it defends the status quo. The matrix is all around you etc. If you try to live outside of the system then you will be compelled by law, and if necessary by force, to conform by an agent of the state, often in the form of some mindless jobs-worth working for the local council with no dress sense and a speech impediment.

You can't help thinking that the banksters are just pragmatists. Rape the system, move your profits off-shore and let the agents of the state bail out the rotten institutions you've left behind at tax-payers' expense in a pathetic attempt to save the system and with it their miserable careers. It's all they deserve.

Perhaps we should all just take the blue pill and be done with it

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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