'Alien, isolated structure' to be removed

PUBLISHED: 14:03 12 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:12 28 May 2010

John Gawthorp and the 'alien, isolated structure'

John Gawthorp and the 'alien, isolated structure'

IT may look like John Gawthorp is living the dream in his idyllic riverside home but a Government inspector has ruled it is an alien isolated structure and warned it must be removed. Mr Gawthorp, 58, was given short thrift by the inspector, Ian Currie,

One of the horses John keeps on the land

IT may look like John Gawthorp is living the dream in his idyllic riverside home but a Government inspector has ruled it is an "alien isolated structure" and warned it must be removed.

Mr Gawthorp, 58, was given short thrift by the inspector, Ian Currie, who visited the site on August 29 and issued his findings within a week dismissing an appeal against enforcement action by Fenland Council.

His ruling means the land at Bedlam Bridge Nursery in Upwell Road, March, must be cleared totally and returned to its original agricultural condition.

Mr Gawthorp keeps horses on the site, said Mr Currie, but they occupy only a smaller building at the northern end of the land.

A view of the stable-like building which has to be removed

"So there seems no obvious need for the appeal building for the purpose for which it was designed," said the inspector.

"I accept that the building is relatively unobtrusive and that the appeal site is neat and tidy overall.

"However the stable-type building is well removed from any other structures of a similar scale."

Mr Currie dismissed the claim by Mr Gawthorp that he was led to believe, through verbal contacts with planning officers, that he could build a structure on the site to live in without any problems.

"He considers that this amounts to the grant of planning permission for what he has carried out," said Mr Currie.

"I am not in a position to comment upon what may have taken place in discussion with council officials in the past. What I can confirm is that planning permission is required for the structure that I saw on site and that I am unaware of any existing written documentations that amounts to a grant of planning permission for this form of development on this land.

"I conclude that this building is in the wrong place and the appeal against the enforcement notice fails on its planning merits."

Mr Gawthorp, a retired butcher, says he sold his house in Chatteris on the strength of allegedly being told he could move to Bedlam Bridge and erect his stable-type home set inside the three acres he owns.

However Mr Gawthorp won some concessions from the Government inspector- he has increased from a month to six months the time to quit the land.

And he has been given up to a year to return the whole site to agricultural use, against the six months requested by Fenland Council.

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