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Cheshire couple forced to tear down “dream home”
A couple have been forced to demolish their “dream home” on land near Macclesfield after it was decided that it contravened planning law.
Ken and Barbara Mead were granted planning permission for a warehouse on their land.
Three years after this they began living in it, and Cheshire East Council said that the couple “ignored their advice.”
Mr Mead said that mistakes by the council were to blame.
The council issued the couple with enforcement notices in 2016 ordering them to “demolish the building in its entirety”.
In 2017, a government inspector upheld the order, finding that the building in Sutton had been constructed “from the outset as a dwelling”.
In evidence, the report cited the building’s plastered walls, “domestic style” bathroom, doors and windows and “luxury” under floor kitchen heating.
“It seems to me that the structure would be entirely unsuited to use as a warehouse,” it said.
The inspector also upheld a second enforcement notice because the couple had changed the land’s use without permission by moving in to the building.
Mr Mead said the council gave them incorrect information when they applied for their original planning permission, and had been inconsistent in its advice.
“It was our dream really”, Mrs Mead said, adding, “I’m devastated that it’s come to this because we didn’t have anywhere else to go”.
The couple are now living on a narrow boat paid for by their children, who say the cost of the demolition will use the last of their parents’ savings.
Cheshire East Council said it had made the planning contraventions “very clear” to Mr and Mrs Mead.
“The owners chose to ignore the council’s advice and moved into the unauthorised dwelling”, a spokesperson said.