• Tipton woman is facing bill for EDDC appeal costs

    23rd February 2013 | News | Claire
  • Normal practice is that the appellant pays their costs and EDDC funds its defence.

    Regular blog readers may remember that last August, EDDC’s development management committee approved Kelly’s application to build a tiny bungalow on a small piece of land she owns near Tipton St John.

    The news that Kelly’s application had been approved seemed to signal the end of years of fighting for the right to live in a caravan on the land, which is screened from the road by a 30ft high hedge.

    But in a bizarre and possibly unique move, Kelly’s application was brought back to the development management committee just two months later where it was refused by councillors.  Planning officers say they brought the application back to committee because of rules stating that it must be advertised as a departure from policy.

    Around a year ago, EDDC issued Kelly with a threat of prosecution if she did not leave the land. 

    But Kelly does not qualify for council housing because she is young and fit.  The prospect of homelessness loomed.

    John Watts, Kelly’s agent, lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate last year, which will be heard on Tuesday 5 March at EDDC’s offices in Sidmouth.

    But despite a printed officer recommendation of approval at the August development management committee meeting, EDDC has now applied for Kelly to foot the bill for EDDC’s costs in defending the appeal. 

    Officers say they have applied to the Planning Inspectorate for costs as they don’t believe an appeal is justified because the application is some way outside a built-up area boundary.

    But Kelly and her family have been living on the land for decades and her great uncle was granted permission for a small bungalow to be built there in 1986.  But it was not built within the specified time and permission lapsed.

    Kelly is said to have reacted with disbelief and despair at the news that she if she loses the appeal, she may be forced to foot the bill for EDDC’s costs, which may well come to more than £1000, in addition to her own, in bringing the appeal.

    My jaw dropped when I saw that EDDC had applied for costs against Kelly, who is clearly far from wealthy and in my view has been the victim of some very unfair treatment by EDDC.  I will be speaking on her behalf at her appeal and very much hope that she wins her case.

    The appeal, which will take the form of an informal hearing, will be considered by a planning inspector on Tuesday 5 March, starting at 10am, in the committee room at Knowle, EDDC offices.  Members of the press and public are welcome to attend and speak, if they register to do so at the start.

    Read more about the events leading up to Kelly’s appeal here – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/tipton_woman_could_be_facing_homelessness/

    Kelly on the Save Our Sidmouth organised march in November.