Home   Romney Marsh   News   Article

Couple victorious in fight to stay in their home in Brookland on Romney Marsh after planning battle


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

A couple whose home was threatened with demolition have won a long battle to remain living in their property.

Alan and Norma Tompkins had been ordered to tear down Brattle Lodge on Kennards Lane in Brookland, Romney Marsh, after the house was built without planning permission.

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

Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) issued an enforcement notice against the couple instructing the site be cleared and the former agricultural land be re-sown with grass.

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

Reaching a conclusion in support of the district council, planning inspector Hilary Orr found the house is "not in a suitable location for new residential development and has caused significant harm to the character and appearance of the area".

A new application for retrospective planning permission went before the FHDC planning committee at its meeting at the Civic Centre in Folkestone on Tuesday evening.

Councillors heard there was significant support for the couple from neighbours in Brookland as well as from the parish council.

How the site on King Street looked in 2009 when captured on camera by Google. Picture: Google Street View
How the site on King Street looked in 2009 when captured on camera by Google. Picture: Google Street View
Cllr David Wimble
Cllr David Wimble

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

She said: "Brattle Lodge is small and unobtrusive, it sits very comfortably on the site and within the wider landscape."

It was argued by the applicants that the house matched the dimensions of a two-storey hay barn which previously stood on the site before being damaged by high winds in 2013.

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

Cllr David Wimble spoke in support of letting the couple remain living in the house and delaying the enforcement of the order for demolition until they are no longer residing there.

Cllr Clive Goddard. Picture: Paul Amos
Cllr Clive Goddard. Picture: Paul Amos

He said: "We are not giving the green light for other people to do the same thing, we are treating this as a one-off and making it clear that should member be minded to go with my proposal that this is for the lifetime of the current occupancy."

Cllr Goddard, asking members to vote on the proposal to refuse permission but delay enforcement, acknowledged this was "one of the most difficult cases" he had known to come before the committee.

Councillors voted in favour of refusing the application but allowing the enforcement notice to come into effect only once Mr and Mrs Tompkins no longer live at Brattle Lodge.

Read more: All the latest news from Romney Marsh

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More