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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 17:06 GMT
Families face eviction nightmare
The Highley Park estate
Residents say site owner Michael Loveridge told them not to worry
Residents living in a caravan park face having their homes removed after it emerged they had been built without planning permission.

The four homes, in Highley Park, Shropshire, were built in open countryside, against planning law.

Bridgnorth District Council has refused a retrospective planning application and ordered the caravans be removed.

Site owner Michael Loveridge said he had not been informed the development was unauthorised.

He said he would lodge an appeal with the Secretary of State.

The stress everybody is under is unimaginable
Yvonne Turton, Highley Park resident

One couple paid 140,000 for their home for their retirement and now face looking for somewhere else to live.

Annie Brough said: "The council's decision was expected but it still came as a shock.

"We are now waiting to see if the owner will compensate us and then we have to look for somewhere to live."

'Not to worry'

Yvonne Turton, 60, moved to their 130,000 home on the site eight months ago.

She said her dream home had turned into a nightmare.

"The first we heard of anything wrong was in October or November when someone asked if we had seen the planning notice put on a telegraph pole down the lane," she said.

"We had a look and realised it was a retrospective application for planning permission."

When she and husband Declan, 65, tackled site owner Michael Loveridge about the matter he told them not to worry, she said.

Now they were just waiting for the enforcement officers to turn up, she added.

"We have sunk all our money into this property. The stress everybody is under is unimaginable."

"We were looking forward to retirement but we are now dependant on the site owner giving us a just settlement."

Significant works

In a statement Mr Loveridge said licensing officers had visited the site on a number of occasions and at no time was he informed that any part of the development was unauthorised.

"The council has taken council tax from the owners ever since the homes were there.

"The site has planning permission for 100 residential mobile homes. The site was developed to accommodate 84 homes plus the four which the council say are slightly over the development line.

"We intend to lodge an appeal to the Secretary of State to retain these residents' homes on site."

Bridgnorth County Council said the four homes had been added onto an existing caravan site at Highley Park which had been there for sometime.

But they had been built on land which is designated as open countryside, and as such any buildings have to have an agricultural purpose.

"Last September, we found out that four caravan homes had been put on this open countryside site and significant works had been carried out without planning consent," a council spokesman said.

A retrospective planning application was submitted but eventually turned down.

The spokesman said there were a number of alternatives left for the people affected.

These include the owners submitting a planning appeal or the planning officers offering the people involved legal advice. Also, he suggested the homes could be removed and placed elsewhere if a site could be found.

Both the council and residents said the thought Mr Loveridge applied for permission to build homes on the site in 2000 but was told permission would not be granted.

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