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Red Lodge man wins long-running battle against council order

Brian Woodcock's property in February 2012

Brian Woodcock's property in February 2012

A Red Lodge resident has won a long-running battle against a council order to clean up his property.

A Red Lodge resident has won a long-running battle against a council order to clean up his property.

Brian Woodcock, 60, of Turnpike Road, Red Lodge,was ordered to clear up his property under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act in December 2011.

Mr Woodcock said the two year battle to contest the order, issued by Forest Heath District Council, had ‘completely ruined’ him.

The council had ordered Mr Woodcock to remove items including vehicle parts, plastic containers, plastic bags, guttering and fence panels from his property.

Mr Woodcock, who describes himself as an ecologist, said the grounds of his property are untidy but that the items were used for sustainable living practices or his passionate interest in cars.

Judge John Holt granted his appeal against a Magistrates’ Court decision to uphold the order at Ipswich Crown Court on February 20.

Forest Heath District Council has spent £9,273 enforcing the order in the courts.

On top of this the council has been told to pay Mr Woodcock £1,104.50 towards his costs.

Speaking about opposing the order through the courts, Mr Woodcock said: “It’s ruined me, my employment, I used to have a well paid job. I was a skilled professional. I’m now on a minimum wage job.

“It’s put me into prison for two days and a crown court case for threatening criminal damage [Mr Woodcock was not convicted].”

Judge Holt ruled in favour of Mr Woodcock at Ipswich Crown Court stating that there was no evidence the storage of items on his land was having a negative effect on the visual amenity of the area.

The judge also ruled the use legal as it has existed for more than 10 years.

A spokesperson for Forest Heath District Council said: “The council took up this matter in response to a complaint.

“We welcome the conclusion of the case after a long period of uncertainty.”

 

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