Burgh Castle homes declared illegal

UP to 245 people living in Burgh Castle are set to be told their homes are illegal and in breach of planning permission.

Officials at Great Yarmouth Borough Council are weighing up the best way to deal with the problem after it emerged hundreds of holiday-use caravans were being lived in permanently.

Investigations revealed that a large number of people living at Kingfisher Holiday Park, in Butt Lane, were paying residential council tax and had no other address.

The unofficial “estate” could put pressure on local services and change the nature of the quiet Broadland village famed for its fort, officials say while advising against taking “a firm stance.”

Despite the obvious breach of a 1994 planning permission officers say full enforcement action would be a PR disaster for the council and make a rod for its own back by making a significant amount of people homeless at a difficult time.

Instead officials are flagging up a softer solution that minimises the impact on the residents and safeguards the council’s reputation.

Development control committee members will be asked to consider how best to tackle the breach which also sees caravans at a higher density than would normally be allowed for permanent residential accommodation, at a meeting at 6pm on Tuesday.

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The report says: “The service of a notice affects the occupants of potentially up to 245 caravans. This number of people is likely to bring about a high level of public concern and consternation.

“In order to mitigate this it is deemed necessary to serve the enforcement notice with a letter explaining the council’s position and the action to be taken.”

Although the council has the power to prosecute the occupiers it is suggesting a more lenient approach - allowing the occupants to remain in their home until such time that they move out when the notice will have to be complied with.

The tactic is aimed at shielding the occupants from the stress that would stem from denying them their home.

People who are using the park as holiday accommodation will not be affected in any way.

The report adds that the value of the caravans will not be affected by notice, describing them as “an ever depreciating chattel” and stating that the caravan is still able to be lived in, just not on that site.