Off grid Devon family face eviction from their own land

Tony Gosling tony at
Sun Nov 3 22:05:02 GMT 2013

Father writes in support of 'off-grid' family facing eviction from 
their own land

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The father of a man whose family is fighting to remain on land in 
Willand says it is time Mid Devon District Council showed flexibility 
and left them to get on with their lives.
Brian Mason has written to Cllr Peter Hare-Scott, the authority's 
leader, in support of Stig and Dinah who want to live a carbon 
neutral lifestyle at Muxbeare Orchard.
The couple, now living in a tent away from the site, have transformed 
what was a neglected, overgrown four-acre plot into a smallholding 
boasting chickens, a 400 sq m allotment and an orchard since 2009.
But the couple, who have two young boys, Dali and Yosse, face 
eviction as planners say the site is solely for agricultural use and 
they are not permitted to live there in a converted horsebox.
Brian, an area highway manager for Hertfordshire County Council, who 
supports legislation that prevents unlawful development, said: 
"However, there comes a time when a piece of land that has lain 
neglect for many, many years on the very edge of the community, can 
be put to some good use and provide a loving home for a family who 
are desperately trying to avoid the poverty trap and dependency on the state."
Stig and Dinah, 34 and 35 respectively, lost an appeal against the 
council's refusal to allow them to live on and work the land a year ago.
They are now in the process of appealing a rejected planning 
application to build a "low impact" dwelling made mostly from organic 
materials on the site.
Brian said a barn, situated adjacent to their Bedford truck home, has 
had its roof re-laid and is now used as a watertight storage area for 
produce and wood used for heating. Electricity is supplied by solar 
panels and a small turbine but the site is connected to mains water.
Brian added: "It is now time that the council used a bit of 
flexibility and allowed them to get on with their chosen life, which 
includes their involvement with the community.
"My son works the land with his family and takes care of their 
accommodation, cooking, getting the children to school, while his 
wife works as a carer in the community. This way, he releases the job 
he could have to somebody else in the area. The alternative is to be 
a burden on society, costing all of us more in taxes."
An injunction to leave the land within 28 days from June 1 was served 
by a County Court judge and the council says Stig and Dinah are not 
permitted to live on the land but they can continue to take a crop.
A planning inspector supports their eviction and dismissed Stig and 
Dinah's appeal.
A spokesman for the council said: "We will continue to seek to uphold 
the resolution of the planning committee to stop the breach of 
planning control.
"I can confirm that a planning enforcement officer made a visit to 
the site on Monday, July 4, but I am not prepared at this stage to 
give any further details about what further action the council may take."

Click on the links below for more stories and reaction on Stig and 
Dinah Mason...
'No crime, so no action,' say police called to 'rave'
to move by the end the of month
plea for 'carbon neutral' couple rejected
couple's case 'is not exceptional'
can I take over a field?
can learn from Masons
that such hard work should go to waste
better life is in our power

Read more: 

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