Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Friday, 7 November 2008

Map clue leads to concealed house


Planning officers were sent an anonymous tip-off

An illegally-built house which was hidden inside a barn to avoid planning rules has been demolished.

Officials found an occupied two-storey stone house with a lounge, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom behind a facade of corrugated iron and wood.

They were tipped off when they were anonymously sent a map which showed the area near Whatstandwell in Derbyshire arrowed and marked "House in Barn!"

The owner had been served with a notice to remove the building by Monday.

Court action

It is believed the house on Longway Bank near Whatstandwell was built four years ago, but the tip-off was received about a year ago.

The owner Mark Renshaw, who runs an animal sanctuary on the property, was fined 500 for not complying with a demolition order before tearing the building down, the council said.

Planning officers from Derbyshire Dales District Council said they hoped their action sent out a message that breaches of planning laws would be dealt with.

The council's head of planning services Paul Wilson added: "We suspect the owner of this property intended to occupy his house inside the barn for four years and then remove the shield thinking he had successfully side-stepped the need for planning permission.

"Unfortunately for him, this would not have been the case, as the High Court has recently ruled that the four-year period for planning exemption only starts when any shielding construction has been removed."

Mr Renshaw and his partner declined to comment.

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