• Kelly Lynch once again faces prosecution by EDDC

    3rd August 2013 | News | Claire
  • EDDC has written to Kelly, who recently lost an appeal to build a small bungalow on her land, which is about half an acre, near Tipton St John.

    Kelly case is long and complicated, suffice to say that that her land has been lived on by her family for generations. A member of EDDC’s planning committee even remembers his father buying a horse from a gypsy who lived on the land in the 1930s.

    Kelly has been fighting to stay in a caravan on the land since 2008. The caravan was lived in by her grandmother who had a personal permission to stay because she was a gypsy. Although Kelly is of gypsy roots, she is not regarded as a gypsy in planning terms, because she does not live a nomadic life – and therein lies the basis of her battle to remain living on the land, which cannot be seen from the road as it is behind a high hedge.

    Last August EDDC’s planning committee granted permission for her to build a small bungalow on the land, justified on the basis that many years ago, her grandmother may not have been given all the information that she was entitled to and there was a bungalow approved there in 1987. 

    But last year’s approval was bizarrely short-lived. Just two months later the application was recalled to committee on a technicality, and was rejected by councillors.

    Kelly’s elation turned to despair again. She lodged an appeal to the planning inspectorate, which was widely supported by friends, neighbours and local councillors.  But the appeal was dismissed in May.

    Sensing that enforcement action was about to resume, I asked officers that any decision on taking such action be made by the planning committee, on the basis that this was the fairest way forward. 

    Officers hinted that they were entitled to take this approach, but said they would meet about Kelly’s case. I asked to be included in the meeting but my request was declined, on the basis it was an officer’s meeting.

    Unfortunately, the next correspondence I received about Kelly’s case was a copy of a letter sent to her last week, stating that she had until 31 March 2014 to leave the land, or she could be subject to prosecution, direct action or a court injunction.

    A detailed planning history of the site in the letter, omitted the approval of a bungalow last August.

    The letter invited Kelly to make contact with EDDC’s housing department to see if they could help her find suitable accommodation.

    But it has already been established that Kelly is not entitled to council housing as she is young and healthy.  And in any case, Kelly already has somewhere to live.

    The letter states the reason that the decision on whether to allow Kelly to stay was made by officers and not members in the public domain, is because of the “harm identified.” 

    Myself and Kelly have been in touch with Hugo Swire’s office about this and I have also written to a senior officer about the issue. I am very unhappy about the decision and that I have been excluded from the process.

    There is no justification whatsoever in my view for not allowing the planning committee to make a decision on enforcement action.

    I accept that EDDC may be legally entitled to take this route, but that does not mean that they are compelled to do so, especially given the circumstances of last year’s approval for a bungalow on the land.

    Kelly says she doesn’t know what she will do or where she will go.

    I will not be letting matters rest here.

    Below is this week’s Express & Echo coverage of the issue.


    Photograph:  Kelly at the Save Our Sidmouth march last November.