A couple whose home was threatened with demolition won a long battle to continue living on their property.

Alan and Norma Tompkins had been ordered to demolish Brattle Lodge on Kennards Lane in Brookland, Romney Marsh, after the house was built without a building permit.

Brattle Lodge in Brookland, Romney Marsh, is at the center of a planning battle. Image: Google Street View

Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) has issued an execution notice against the couple ordering the site to be cleared and the old farmland to be reseeded with grass.

Mr and Mrs Tompkins appealed the council’s initial decision, but in April 2020 the Planning Inspectorate dismissed their appeal and upheld the local authority’s demolition order.

Reaching a finding in favor of the District Council, Planning Inspector Hilary Orr found that the house is “not in a suitable location for new residential development and has caused significant damage to character and appearance. of the region”.

A new retrospective planning permit application was submitted to the FHDC planning committee during its meeting at the Civic Center in Folkestone on Tuesday evening.

Councilors learned that there was significant support for the couple from neighbors in Brookland as well as the parish council.

What the King Street site looked like in 2009 when it was filmed by Google.  Image: Google Street View
What the King Street site looked like in 2009 when it was filmed by Google. Image: Google Street View
Cllr David Wimble
Cllr David Wimble

Addressing the committee on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Tompkins, Constable Caroline Wilberforce urged councilors to grant approval subject to an order, if necessary, that the property be occupied only by current residents.

She said: “Brattle Lodge is small and low-key, it sits very comfortably on site and in the wider landscape.”

The plaintiffs argued that the house fitted the dimensions of a two-story hay barn that previously stood on the site before it was damaged by high winds in 2013.

However, committee chairman Cllr Clive Goddard presented evidence from Google Street View that showed a smaller one-story farm building on the land in 2009.

Cllr David Wimble spoke out in favor of keeping the couple in the house and postponing the execution of the demolition order until they no longer reside there.

Cllr Clive Goddard.  Photo: Paul Amos
Cllr Clive Goddard. Photo: Paul Amos

He said: “We are not giving the green light for others to do the same, we are treating this as a unique case and making it clear that members should be willing to accept my proposal that it is for the lifetime of the current occupation. “

Cllr Goddard, asking members to vote on the proposal to deny permission but delay application, admitted it was “one of the most difficult cases” he has known to come forward. to the committee.

Councilors voted to deny the request, but allowing the notice of execution to come into effect only after Mr. and Mrs. Tompkins no longer reside at Brattle Lodge.

Read more: All the latest news from Romney Marsh

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