Thursday, March 15, 2012

One over on the authorities good for them

Family who built secret house in woods without telling planners can't be evicted because they've been living there for more than four years

A family that built a secret home in the woods - where they've lived for the last four years, have won their right to stay. Daniel and Jessica Brown, together with their three children, have been living in the house concealed behind the trees near the village of Westcott, Surrey, without the authorities knowing. Regulations state that The Browns, who moved into the woods off Logmore Lane in September 2007, cannot now be forced to move out given the length of their stay.

Posted by mark @ 09:58 AM (1605 views)
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8 thoughts on “One over on the authorities good for them

  • Now what will be interesting is when they sell. They no doubt bought the land for £very little, and built the house for maybe £150k. No doubt will sell for multiples of that, allowing them to trouser hundreds of grand. They clearly have not done anything to earn the windfall. Pity there’s absolutely nothing on the statute books to return this ill gotten gain at everyone else’s expense to the public.

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  • It’s an interesting bit of law..

    I was a bit surprised when the guy who hid his house behind straw bales lost his appeal – the argument that the straw bales constituted part of the building process seemed very weak.

    I know where there is a mobile home lying in a copse. It was put there in about 1997 and was lived in briefly, and had some mail sent, which has been kept. It is now deeply surrounded by trees, proving that it must have remained continuously in situ for upwards of ten years. It’s in poor shape now, and the floor has rotted away.

    Could the planners order its removal now? – I think after ten years that’s not possible.

    Could they prevent it from being renovated? – Provided it gets no larger, I think they would be powerless to prevent it.

    Could they stop it from being fittted with mains water and elecricity? – I don’t think the installation of utilities requires planning consent.

    Could they stop someone from living there? – That’s the grey area.. They couldn’t argue that it was commercial, so change of use wouldn’t apply. My guess is that an appeal court would rule that if a house was legally in situ, then it would be unreasonable to prevent someone from living there.

    – Anyone know any similar case history??

    My advice to the owner is to get it renovated, but without spending too much, rendering it immobile in the process; get the basic utilities connected (these can be spurred off another property he owns) – and get someone to move in, without rattling the planner’s cage – if possible.. just yet..

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  • mombers probably somewhat less than 150k if large housebuilders can knock up crap at a cost of 60k then sell on at huge profit

    i think this guy has done the right thing and screwed over the local council who will reject anything unless redrow or barratt build rabbit hutches and line someones pocket with a new porsche

    this is the kind of housing people should be allowed to build, it is cute, hidden and defo not an eyesore and it costs almost nothing to build, tempted to do the same thing

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  • The ridiculous thing is that the government could easily sort this out. Just compare the records at the VOA to the records at the post office, the electricity, gas and water companies, etc. My landlord subdivided a house and has rented it out for years now, the address is fine for elec, water and gas, is on the post office address db, etc, etc. Now she’s told the council and will get it retroactively approved. The gvmt could have sorted this out years ago.

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  • @mark can’t see the house but yes £150k is probably much more than it cost to build

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  • what is more disgusting a nice little house or a giant extension on a KFC both built without planning, one was granted without enforcement after event and the other is being battled by the council all the way

    guess which one had the least aggression from council

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  • @mombers

    I honesty cannot understand your hostility towards this family, there are far worse examples of ill gotten gain out there (BTL brigade come to mind), is there a hint of jealousy in you comment? ; )

    I say good luck to the bloke!

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  • good on this guy. he fought the system and won and prevented himself becoming a debt slave.

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