A couple who decided that it was a good idea to disguise a home as a garage and live in it for four years seem to have gotten what was coming to them. Apparently, the home they’ve created, which they built in their garden, is against the law because they didn’t have permission to build it. They’ve been ordered to tear it down.
Jackie Shearsby, 55, and her partner Peter Hickinbotham, 68, built their two-bedroom home in their garden in Long Itchington, Warks. They built it because they bought a crumbling house that could only be demolished and they obviously needed a place to live.
Hickinbotham has said that he was hoping to take advantage of the rule that says that planning permission can be granted after the structure has already been in place for 4 years. The local council disagrees because they claim that the home was deliberately disguised and concealed.
Apparently, the couple had been living in the home for more than 4 years, since April 2012. They were caught last December when they were contacting planners to apply for permission after the fact to turn the garage into a “habitable residential dwelling”. So basically, they were caught while trying to come clean.
Mr. Hickinbotham spoke after the court hearing in the two-bedroom bungalow, stating, “They looked outside saying the conifers are hiding it, the gates and fence are hiding it but they’d been there for 30 years.”
He added, “Obviously trees grow, they were planted in 2009 […] They said how could you live like this in dark rooms – there are a couple of windows, okay. But that doesn’t bother us, in the summer you open the doors to let the light in but I wanted to get the four-year period out of the way before I applied.”
According to Cllr Simon Lawton, Chairman of Regulatory Committee: “Planning regulations are there to protect against unauthorized development. The council will consider this Court process to prevent breaches becoming immune from enforcement action where a breach has been deliberately concealed to avoid enforcement action.”
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