A Herefordshire woman is bidding to have her home in the Herefordshire countryside declared lawful after moves to evict her from it.
Abigail Walker says she has lived at Little Bush Pitch, by the A438 west of Ledbury, for over four years and is therefore immune from enforcement by Herefordshire Council.
Permission was granted in 2015 to extend an existing building for “shower, laundry and storage purposes”, to serve the five static mobile home and touring caravan pitches already permitted on the site.
But this March the council served an enforcement notice on Ms Walker, saying she had made an unauthorised change of use to the building, to a house, which she had occupied less than four years ago.
An accompanying letter from the council’s development manager Mark Tansley gave her a month to appeal the enforcement – for which she would have to pay the council £462.
This she has now done, on the basis that, at the time of the enforcement notice, “it was too late to take enforcement action against the matters stated in the notice”.
She declares that she “partially” moved into the building at the end of 2018, and “completely” by the start of February 2019 – four years and six weeks before the enforcement notice.
Her appeal includes sworn affidavits by a painter and a kitchen installer who worked on the property, both saying they found Ms Walker living there in February 2019.
She is also seeking a CLEUD (lawful development certificate) establishing her right to use the building as a residence.
“I have been occupying my ‘washroom/laundry’ as a bungalow, contrary to planning consent, for over four years,” this says. “I have been using the land as a garden, parking and driveway.”