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Farmer fights plans to demolish home

A FARMER and his family are fighting an order to pull down the home they have spent £100,000 building.

A FARMER and his family are fighting an order to pull down the home they have spent £100,000 building.

Tim and Kathryn Vaughan with daughters Alisha and Esther

Tim Vaughan gained permission to convert an outbuilding at Pit Farm, Brown Knowl, near Broxton, into a bungalow back in February.

But Chester City Council officers say what has been done in Sherrington Lane is tantamount to 'new build' and are also unhappy with its design and external appearance.

An enforcement notice is to be issued soon which will mean the whole building being demolished.

Mr Vaughan, 32, who grew up in the village, and his wife Kathryn, 29, a primary school teacher, are flabbergasted.

They say the building incorporates the original walls, its footprint is almost exactly the same and they went out of their way to find old style bricks.

Mr Vaughan, who has two young daughters Esther, two, and Alisha, five months, said: 'What are we doing that's so wrong? I could understand it if we had built a carbuncle.'

He added: 'It's not obtrusive. I cannot see why they are fighting us. It's like barking at the moon. It doesn't make any sense. Hopefully, it can be peacefully sorted. If we can't the battle lines are drawn.'

The family cannot live in the farmhouse because Mr Vaughan's widowed mother Lilian lives there along with her foster children. Mr Vaughan, who farms the land, and his wife wanted their own place on the same site.

He has been trying since 1993 to get permission for a mobile home at the farm and since 1994 for a new dwelling on the site.

Despite not getting permission for the mobile home, he and his wife, whose father is Methodist minister the Rev Dr Mike Harrison, did live in one for a time. They appealed against the decision but agreed to remove it after an inspector sided with the planning authority.

The inspector ruled out the need for a new accommodation at the farm saying the farmhouse was all that was required. But in February Mr Vaughan got permission to convert an outbuilding into a dwelling.

Planning enforcement officer Les Smith said the original plan had not been followed. Two garages had materialised into two bedrooms. In addition, it had been thought the original walls would have been on the exterior but these had been clad with a new outer wall.

He added: 'That conversion was carried out not to plan. He submitted another application to convert the outbuilding on what had been done and that was rejected. The planning board has authorised enforcement action.'

Cllr Neil Ritchie, who represents Tilston Ward on Chester City Council, denied Chester City Council had applied the planning legislation bureaucatically.

He said : 'I think at the time everybody thought it would be suitable to meet the needs of this particular case. There is no doubt about it he has gone significantly further than was approved and that has been the source of the planning board's concern.'

Charlie Seward, city council forward planning manager, said: 'We have to work within parameters set for us by national guidelines and also at a regional and county council locally. In general the accepted principle is that development in the countryside should be limited to sites which meet local needs for jobs and homes and which don't have a detrimental impact on the countryside itself.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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