February 27, 2019
An elderly couple had to destroy their own house and end up living in a small boat due to a building permit.
Ken and Barbara Mead from Cheshire were forced to demolish their own "dream house" and lose all their savings after a government inspector ruled that it violated the planning law.
In 2012, the couple was granted planning permission to build a warehouse on their land near Macclesfield. However, the real intention of the couple was to build their new home and not a warehouse, so three years later, they started living in it.
What the couple never imagined was that the sanction of the council would be so drastic. The East Cheshire Council said the couple "ignored" their warnings and despite not having permission yet built a house.
According to a spokesperson from the council, “they had made it clear to the owners that there was no planning permission for the erection of a dwelling and the building, which they had constructed, fell outside the scope of permission for a warehouse. The owners chose to ignore the council's advice and moved into the unauthorized dwelling."
After a long and exhausting legal battle, the council issued the couple compliance notices in 2016 ordering them to "demolish the building in its entirety."
"The council has completely ruined our lives. They've left us to fend for ourselves and be homeless, I do not know where else they would have expected to go." Barbara said.
Another government inspector confirmed the demolition order the following year and cited in the report as evidence that the property had clearly been built for the purpose of being a home even if it looked like a warehouse.
According to the report, the plastered walls of the building, the bathroom, the doors and windows of "domestic style" and the heating of the kitchen of "luxury floor" indicated that the building in Sutton had been built "from the beginning as a dwelling".
"It seems to me that the structure would be totally inadequate to use it as a warehouse," said the inspector.
Mr. Mead blamed the council for the errors that led to such a devastating outcome. According to him, the council gave them incorrect information when they requested their original planning permission and had been inconsistent in their council.
"It really was our dream," said Mrs. Mead, adding, "I'm devastated that it came to this because we had nowhere to go." The couple now lives in a narrow boat paid for by their two children, who say that the demolition will cost the last of their parents' savings and leave them broke.
In another story, a couple's dream of spending Christmas in the Big Apple dashed by one tiny mistake.
British couple John Stevenson, 70, and his wife Marion, 71, had planned the holiday of a lifetime.
The two bought tickets to fly from Scotland to the U.S. on December 3, 2018, and were planning to spend Christmas and New Year's in New York, but one tick in the wrong box may have dashed their plans.