'Good Life' scuppered as eco-home demolished

The couple

Daniel and Lora Newman had planned to live the 'Good Life'. They planted up a smallholding of around three quarters of an acre, and built a tiny wooden cabin for them and their two children to live on the land.

Over 1,000 people signed a petition in support of letting the couple stay, but the council ordered that they had to demolish their home.
The Falmouth Packet reported that Daniel (37) and Lora (32) from Carharrack in Cornwall adopted self-sufficiency in 2009. They planted up their smallholding and built a tiny wooden shed to live in - measuring just five meters by six meters. However, because they failed to apply for planning consent, the council was determined that they could not stay.

It sent repeated warnings to the couple that they didn't have permission for the building, and when they failed to move out, it took them to Truro Magistrates Court.

The couple set up an online petition, which attracted over 1,000 signatures supporting them. However, according to the Daily Mail, the council told the court that permission would never have been granted for the building, because it is in open countryside. The court gave them a 12-month conditional discharge, ordered them to pay £1,500 towards council costs and demanded that they take down the shed.

The couple have dismantled their home, and are planning to move to France.


They are not the first people to fall foul of planning rules and be forced to demolish their home. We reported last month on Syed Raza Shah, a beauty salon owner from Barton-Le-Clay in Bedfordshire, who had been ordered to pull down his £2 million mansion, because it was three times bigger than the extension he had permission to build.

Then in June there was the woman in Deal in Kent, who had bought a mobile home, and covered her entire garden with it, in order to move her elderly mother into the property to care for her. The council ordered them to remove it.

In February farmer Robert Fidler was ordered to demolish his mini castle. He had built it in 2001 and kept it hidden behind a haystack until 2006. He had hoped to take advantage of a loophole that states that if a building has been around for four years without a complaint it cannot have planning rules enforced against it. The Council disagreed, refused to grant retrospective permission, fought the farmer for six years, and finally insisted he knock it down.

Perhaps the most tragic tale was the couple who lost the Spanish villa they had hoped to spend their retirement in. They bought it from a developer, and thanks to a cover-up by the developer and the agent, their dream home turned out to have been built without permission and was demolished. All that was left was the swimming pool.

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