Man’s anger at council ‘bullies’

Brian Woodcock has been ordered to clear up his property by Forest Heath District Council in 56 days. He lives alone and says it is not enough time for him to meet their requirements. If it's not cleared, the council will be entitled to come in and do the work and he could have to pay around �4,000 as a result.
Brian Woodcock has been ordered to clear up his property by Forest Heath District Council in 56 days. He lives alone and says it is not enough time for him to meet their requirements. If it's not cleared, the council will be entitled to come in and do the work and he could have to pay around �4,000 as a result.
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A MOTOR enthusiast who could face £4,000 in costs if he does not tidy his land has branded a council as ‘vindictive’.

Brian Woodcock, 58, who has lived in Turnpike Road, Red Lodge, for 30 years has been given 56 days to clear his property by Forest Heath District Council’s planning department.

He says he does not have time to meet the order’s conditions and that he will inevitably have to pay for breaching the conditions – a fee that could be around £4,000 – and be given a criminal record.

Despite having 22 second-hand cars on his land – including BMWs and Porsches – the council’s notice is focused on items used by Mr Woodcock to provide alternative energy and water supplies to his home.

He said: “I only earn about £200 a week so I work really hard to keep my costs down. That means I’ve got things set up in my garden to provide me with water and heat.

“I know the land isn’t tidy and I’ve told them I’m willing to clean it up, but they have just moved into a bullying mode and now I’m faced with massive costs.”

The authority’s order – called a Section 215 – obliges Mr Woodcock to remove items including plastic garden furniture, guttering, fence panels, a cement mixer and refuse sacks.

But he claims those materials are needed for his subsistence lifestyle and that when he asked the council for clarification on what he could keep, he was given no reply.

Mr Woodcock owns a lawful development certificate for the cars on his property, meaning they do not have to be removed.

He has now appealed against the decision, which could cost him up to £700.

He has also written to MP Matthew Hancock and is asking neighbours for their views on his property.

Forest Heath District Council confirmed the order had been issued and Mr Woodcock’s appeal.