Walsoken mobile home removed by West Norfolk Council

Broad End Road park home being demolished
Broad End Road park home being demolished
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A mobile home installed without planning permission was removed from a field by West Norfolk Council following an eight-year legal wrangle.

On Thursday last week, the council began to remove the “park home” installed by site owners Rodney Wilson and Patt Wenn at Broad End Road, Walsoken.

Earlier this year a High Court judge lifted an injunction to prevent the council from taking direct action to uphold an enforcement notice, which was issued in 2006 over the change of use of agricultural land.

The owners tried to get permission to retain the landscaped home, which included a conservatory, boiler/utility room and decking. Following an appeal, in 2011, the couple were granted permission for the siting of a mobile home for persons of gypsy status with additional tree planting, landscaping, access and gateway.

In 2012, the couple were refused permission to retain the existing home and a subsequent appeal was refused.

A council statement says: “It is important that people have confidence in the planning system and that it is applied fairly and consistently to all groups in society.

“We always work hard to find a solution to planning breaches to avoid the need for direct action, but in this instance we have been left with no alternative.

“Mr Wilson stationed a park home on this site in 2005, without planning permission. We have attempted to work with him in an effort to resolve this situation and it is only after nine years that we are finally forced to take action to remove this building.

“As gypsies, Mr Wilson and Mrs Wenn have consent to station two caravans on the site, but what has been built on the site is not and never has been a caravan. The Wilsons received the consent for the two caravans in 2011 but since then have done nothing to remove the unauthorised park home.

“The fact that the dimensions of the house are only slightly larger than would be the case for the largest caravan is not relevant. Gypsies are given special exemption to station caravans in the countryside to reflect their lifestyle and particular needs.

“These exemptions do not extend to what has been stationed on this site, and it is effectively a house that has been built on this site. The two most recent planning appeal decisions, made by the Planning Inspectorate, make it clear that the unauthorised park home cannot be justified.

“As the judge has now discharged the injunction, which was in place pending the latest planning appeal to be dismissed, the council can now implement direct action to rectify the longstanding breach of planning control.”