A couple who dreamt of the 'good life' in the country on land they own are facing a future 'on the road' in a caravan.
East Lindsey District Council say they have no option to take enforcement action for the buildings and other items on the site at Thorpe Culvert removed because planning permission has been refused.
However, the couple want to raise awareness of their situation as they face fines totalling £6,000 for enforcement so other so others can learn from it.
Sandra Marrows and her partner Dave Booley, a self-employed builder, bought the garden plot in 2014 after Sandra’s Fibromyalgia left her walking with sticks and she had to give up work as a carer in a retirement home.
“I’d heard the condition is affected by stress so we hoped moving to the country would help,” she said. “When we bought the garden plot there was already a static caravan on it and a shed, but we were advised to put in for planning, which we did.”
Sandra said they were issued with an address by East Lindsey District Council, were put on the electoral register and have been paying council taxes for a residential property.
“We were sure we would get planning because there has been a static on the site since 2010, so we were surprised when it was refused,” she said. “We couldn’t afford the cost of an appeal at £1500 each and so we got in touch with the MP and our ward councillor Coun Sid Dennis.
“On June 10 we went to Boston Court for breach of an enforcement notice and were fined £3,000 each, which my partner is working really hard to pay off.
“We don’t want to move. We made a garden, created a vegetable plot and got chickens - we just wanted to live the good life.It just seems so unfair when other properties down here have caravans and there are two caravan sites in the village.
“We’ve been getting a tourer ready but have nowhere to go - just a life on the road.”
Coun Dennis confirmed he had made enquiries regarding the situation, but there was nothing he could do. “The problem is if East Lindsey District Council granted permission for this they would set a precedent and they just can’t do that.”
Service Manager for Enforcement at East Lindsey District Council, Jo Parker, said; “We have been liaising with the occupiers of the land since 2014 regarding the land on which she is living on.
“Planning permission to use the land for residential use has been refused by the Local Planning Authority.
“Unauthorised building work continued on the land without planning permission. As such, the Council issued an Enforcement Notice to require the residential use to cease and for all of the unauthorised buildings to be removed.
“The Notice was not appealed and the Notice has not been complied with. The Council had a legal duty to prosecute for non-compliance with the Enforcement Notice.
“The Enforcement Team are continuing to liaise with Miss Mallows and the other occupier of the land. If compliance is not achieved, further enforcement action will be taken”.