Family's dismay as Broads Authority forces them to rip up dream garden
PUBLISHED: 07:03 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 21 January 2018
Archant © 2018
A Norfolk family who spent their life savings on creating a dream garden face the prospect of selling their home following enforcement action by the Broads Authority.
The Tucker family from Ormesby St Michael spent thousands of pounds on turning an open field into a safe outdoor area for their five children and others to enjoy.
Since buying the property in 2013 the family has extended a pond, fenced the property, grassed the land, built a paved walk way around the outside and planted 350 apple trees.
David Tucker said the space allowed him to approach local schools to host sports activities and science projects, and they were planning to approach charities to offer disabled children access to the property which is close to Trinity Broad.
However, after losing a planning appeal, they have six months to convert around 6,000 square metres back into an agricultural field.
Mr Tucker said: “I am now left in a situation of selling the family home to fund the changes that have been forced on me by the Broads Authority.”
Among other things they have been told to rip up the perimeter path, which was installed to allow wheelchair access for a family member, and remove the apple trees.
“I am now left with an enforcement notice which requires me to do as they say in six months or face prosecution.”
Mr Tucker said they did not believe they were doing anything wrong when they bought and converted two parcels of land adjacent to their property into the garden.
“We didn’t think we were doing anything that majorly altered it,” he said. “We thought we were improving it.”
A retrospective planning application to convert the land from agriculture to wildlife garden, and a subsequent appeal, were rejected.
The Broads Authority said the development failed to protect and enhance the Broads.
A spokesman said: “A number of applications, largely retrospective, have been considered and we have provided pre-application advice throughout that time.
“Despite this, the land owners have continued to carry out development without the benefit of planning permission and against the advice given that the proposed development would not be acceptable.”
The authority said planning officers had a duty to investigate development that was carried out without planning permission.
“In this case, we worked with the land owners to find a mutually acceptable compromise solution and only served an enforcement notice having exhausted options for voluntary compliance,” said the spokesman.
He said planning permission subject to conditions was granted retrospectively to retain some of the agricultural land for residential use but the work was “not on course” to be completed in the stipulated time and an appeal had been lodged.
“The appeal found in favour of the planning authority with the Inspector concluding that the development conflicts with three policy areas and is inconsistent with two others,” he said.
“It was noted that the development harms the character and appearance of the site and the landscape character and scenic beauty of the Broads.”