Cheshire couple demolish 'dream' home in planning row

Couple watching house demolition
Image caption Cheshire East Council said this building was "unauthorised"

A couple from Cheshire have been forced to tear down their own "dream home" after a government inspector ruled it contravened planning law.

In 2012, Ken and Barbara Mead were granted planning permission for a warehouse on their land near Macclesfield, but, three years later, they began living in it.

Cheshire East Council said the couple "ignored" their advice.

Mr Mead blamed mistakes by the council. Mrs Mead said she was "devastated".

The council issued the couple with enforcement notices in 2016 ordering them to "demolish the building in its entirety".

The following year, a government inspector upheld the order, finding that the building in Sutton had been constructed "from the outset as a dwelling".

Image caption The inspector said the building was "unsuited" for use as a warehouse
Image caption The inspector said many rooms were constructed "in a domestic style"

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.

Image caption Mr and Mrs Mead have had to use their own savings to pay for the demolition

"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.

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