Man whose log cab style home burnt down by enforcement team seven years ago launches fresh protest outside council offices

11:34 06 May 2014

John Gawthorp outside Fenland District Council offices in March. Protesting over a planning inforcement issue. Picture: Steve Williams.

John Gawthorp outside Fenland District Council offices in March. Protesting over a planning inforcement issue. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

.A man whose log cabin style home was burnt down seven years in a row over planning permission today staged a one man protest outside Fenland Hall, March.

The home of John and Elaine Gawthorp which was destroyed and burnt by bailifs from the FDCThe home of John and Elaine Gawthorp which was destroyed and burnt by bailifs from the FDC

John Gawthorp insists he was verbally given planning permission for his timber building near Bedlam Bridge, on the outskirts of March.

However, Fenland District planners came down hard on him and, after a 15-month battle, demolished the stables in May 2007.

The matter went to county court in 2010 when Mr Gawthorp and his wife Elaine protested the £7,050 bill he received from the council for the demolition.

In court the council’s former planning chief said he knew nothing about advice given at the one-stop shop in Chatteris that Mr Gawthorp wouldn’t need planning permission for the stables.

The home of John and Elaine Gawthorp which was destroyed and burnt by bailifs from the FDCThe home of John and Elaine Gawthorp which was destroyed and burnt by bailifs from the FDC

Mr Gawthorp has always insisted he was given verbal consent.

He said: “This has ruined mine and my wife’s lives. They slung us out on the street, burnt our home, we lost thousands.

“We lived in the Green Welly Motel at Chatteris for 18 months before getting a bungalow from Roddons Housing Association.

“I won’t give up the fight until the council admits Mr Brown lied. I want compensation. We lost £100,000.

“We sold our home to set up the new place at Bedlam Bridge; I wouldn’t have done that if I thought I was doing something wrong.”

Mr Gawthorp lost his county court battle after District Judge Stuart Farquhar ruled that the council acted appropriately. The judge also told Mr Gawthorp to pay the council’s legal costs of £2,829.25.

The council declined to comment on Mr Gawthorp’s protest.

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