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SCULPTOR REFUSED RETROSPECTIVE PLANNING CONSENT FOR 'INAPPROPRIATE' HOUSE

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A sculptor who, for almost a decade, has lived in a Cotswold quarry surrounded by the raw materials for his work, f...
A sculptor who, for almost a decade, has lived in a Cotswold quarry surrounded by the raw materials for his work, faces having to tear down his home after a judge's ruling.

Jack Everett's timber home is tucked away in Shutway Quarry, Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire, and its visual impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty is 'negligible', a court heard.

But both Stroud DC and an environment department planning inspector decided the building was nevertheless an 'inappropriate' development in such a sensitive area.

Yesterday at London's high court, specialist planning judge, Michael Rich QC, upheld the inspector's decision to refuse Mr Everett's bid for retrospective planning consent to keep his home.

The district council has already issued an enforcement notice requiring him to level the building to the ground.

Amongst other things, Judge Rich rejected claims that the inspector had failed to take adequate account of Mr Everett's right to respect for his family life and home under the Human Rights Act.

The judge said Mr Everett's history in the quarry began some time before 1986 when he was granted temporary planning permission for four buildings he put up without planning consent as store rooms and a private studio.

But the permission was limited to only five years and there was a tight prohibition on any residential use being made of the buildings.

The five-year time limit was twice extended but, in 1996, a final date for the demolition of the buildings was set at August 23 2001.

But, unbeknown to the council, the judge said Mr Everett had, for a number of years, since at leat 1993, been 'clandestinely' using buildings on the site as living accommodation.

In April 1997 he applied to the council for a 'certificate of lawful use' as he had been living on the site for more than four years. That was refused and the council promptly took enforcement action.

In May 1998, after a public inquiry, an environment department inspector in effect allowed him to stay living in the quarry, but only until the buildings were due for demolition in August 2001.

But Mr Everett responded by demolishing the buildings and replacing them with 'a very considerably enlarged' timber home.

The council issued an enforcement notice requiring him to demolish his new home and that was upheld by another planning inspector in April last year.

His application for retrospective planning consent to keep his home was finally refused by a third inspector in January this year and it was that decision he challenged in the high court.

Judge Rich ruled that, as Mr Everett had from the outset been living on the site in breach of a clear planning condition, his residential use of the quarry could not become lawful merely by the passage of time.

The buildings on the site had, in any event, only ever been 'temporary' in planning terms, he added.

The judge accepted that Mr Everett's right to respect for his family life and home was a relevant factor to be taken into account, but ruled that the inspector had in fact done so 'fully and fairly' before dismissing the appeal.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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