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Family told to stop living on land off Baldwins Drove in Outwell after losing planning appeal





A family of four have lost a battle to keep their home after enforcers told them they had to stop living there.

The Vickers family will now have to move out and find elsewhere to stay after they were told to “permanently cease” using the land in Outwell for residential purposes.

It comes after a two-year battle to appeal the decision but despite their efforts, it was dismissed this month.

A photograph of the land at Robyn's Nest in Outwell. Picture: West Norfolk Council
A photograph of the land at Robyn's Nest in Outwell. Picture: West Norfolk Council

The family said they have owned the land, at Robyn’s Nest off Baldwins Drove - which had an assortment of agricultural outbuildings and caravans on it - since 2009.

Over the next decade, the land was visited on a number of occasions by officials following complaints people were living there but no further action was taken until almost a decade later.

Trouble arose in 2021, when West Norfolk Council decided that a barn, which was given planning permission for agricultural use, was being used as a home.

An aerial view of the land in Outwell. Picture: Google Maps
An aerial view of the land in Outwell. Picture: Google Maps

The family were hit with an enforcement notice in September and told they had little over a month to stop living there.

Having previously denied living there, they admitted that this was a lie told to the council out of fear they would lose their home.

Inspector Peter Willows said in his statement: “Mr and Ms Vickers now say that the previous statements that nobody was living on the site were falsely made in order to avoid losing their home.”

Hopes this may sway Mr Willows by showing they have lived there for a longer time backfired, as he said this was not backed up with evidence.

“The burden of proof falls on the appellants and there is nothing to lead me to prefer their current claims over the previous ones,” he said.

“Indeed, the previous claims that no one was living at the site are supported by a number of council inspections and the appeal of a planning agent.”

The family also attempted to block the enforcers by appealing the decision, arguing as they are a Romany Gypsy family, they should be permitted to live there due to it being classed as a gypsy/traveller site

But Mr Willows deemed the fact permanent structures made of brick and steel had been erected, it did not meet the character of such sites.

“I have no doubt of the implications in upholding the notice for the family,” he said.

“While it will mean the family of four will lose their current home, this must be weighed against the public interest of ensuring proper planning.”



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