by Daniel Newman
In August last year, with the help of my Dad, Step-Dad, Brother-in-law Alwyn and neighbours Colin and Keith, my wife Lora and I had to dismantle our own home.
After a long and expensive court battle, Cornwall Council insisted that we abandon our non-polluting, environmentally friendly lifestlye.
In our case the lead magistrate said that we had taken a piece of derelict land and turned it into something beautiful and productive and that young people need homes
But then of course, she stated that was her view – and not that of the courts.
We feel this was a clear message to the Council that they were in the wrong.
The magistrates seemed to be a little aghast as to fact that the council were even prosecuting us for this matter.
We were given a 12 month conditional discharge – which essentially means that if we do not go to court for any kind of offence in that time period we will face no fines or punishment.
Cornwall Council asked that we pay around £3,500 costs to them. But this the magistrates considered too much – and asked us to pay £750 each.
>So we’ve lost our home, have the conditional discharges on our criminal record and it has cost us a fair bit of cash – but the court made their feelings clear.
We are grateful to the courts for their sensible approach to this ridiculous case that has wasted thousands a thousands of public money, our money and time.
Hundreds of people supported our struggle to live in our cabin home and more than a thousand signed a petition supporting us.
We can hardly say that we have won, but we feel relieved and believe when we next try to secure planning permission that we will be successful.
Today Lora and I live and work in France.
But we haven’t given up. We are questioning the planning process with a freedom of information request.
It may or may not surprise you to hear that the council are simply refusing to respond!!
After a long time waiting for the requested planning and enforcement files the council has refused to let us have the stating that it is “not in the public interest.”
We question why they are not letting us have the information.
Why would they not publish the files if they have nothing to hide??????
There’s no smoke without fire.
And it seems to us that we can see the toxic Council fumes wafting even from over here in France!
Well – we will return revitalised and refreshed, and we hope eventually hold the council to account.
In the meantime, thank you all for showing that you care