My bungalow had been in continuous lawful residential use for 56 years
at the time I purchased it in 1984
1928 was the year ‘The Bungalow’ was built and a Transfer of Legal Charge, attached to the property’s deeds, states the following:
2. A piece of land with bungalow in course of construction thron situate in Lydden afsd being the premises firstly convd to the Testator by Deed dated 13th August 1925 and made between Henry Gray (1) and the Testator (2)
DULY EXECUTED by the Borrowers and the parties thrto of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th parts.
TRANSFER of Legal Charge of this date (endorsed on before abstd Legal Charge) between within-named Ernest Edward Pain
At the time of purchase the use of the land was lawful for residential purposes and the bungalow was deemed to have planning permission by virtue of the fact that it was built before the 1st July 1948 (the ‘Appointed Day’ for the Town & Country Planning Act 1947).
This is a Statutory Right that applies to every building in England which was built before 1st July 1948, and thus does not require a specific permission from its District Council.
The ‘Appointed Day’ is sufficient evidence by itself to confirm the lawful use, but is further substantiated by indisputable evidence from DDC’s Head of Legal Services, the Planning Inspectorate, by statements from neighbours and from Mr Grieve, the Professional Standards Investigator, who concluded:
“There is a record of residential use of the site from 1928 to 31st July 1989”
The Investigator also stated:
“After careful consideration of all the files and documents relating to the history of this site I have come to the conclusion that the Planning Committee reached the decision to demolish the complainant’s home based on inaccurate and misleading advice.”
“This was maladministration.”
Further evidence can be found in conveyance documentation, sales particulars and by the fact that the property was rated as a residential bungalow at the time of purchase.
On file there are a number of letters from nearby residents, which all confirm the long-standing residential use of the bungalow. Please click here to to read them.
Additional confirmation and acceptance of the lawful residential status of the bungalow came from the Planning Inspector, Richard W. Pratt, who stated:
“A bungalow was built on the site in about 1928, and remained in use as a dwelling house up to the time of the appellant’s acquisition of the land in 1984… I accept that, at that time, the residential use of the building would have been lawful, because it pre-dated the Appointed Day, 1 July 1948”.
The deeds categorically prove that my bungalow was constructed in 1928 and this is confirmed in written evidence from the late George Kirby of Chalksole Farm, Warren Lane who remembered the property being built. Mr Kirby was a member of Alkham Parish Council for 45 years, 30 years as its Chairman.
Mr Kirby, who farmed the land adjoining my property, also gave written evidence, along with other neighbours, that my bungalow was lived in from 1928 until 1981 albeit for the latter few years for holiday periods and at weekends. However, even if only used latterly for holiday accommodation, planning law confirms that this would still constitute a residential use.
Mr and Mrs Pickard and their daughter lived in the bungalow from 1934 until 1956 and rented the property from a Mr Pearce. In 1956 the Pickards moved out and the new tenant, Mr Gibbs, moved in and lived there until 1967 at which time Miss Dickinson purchased the bungalow.
Miss Dickinson lived there until 1981, although latterly only at weekends and holiday times. According to the neighbours Miss Dickinson was slightly eccentric and for one thing she painted the bungalow pink!
It is absolutely clear that at the time I purchased my bungalow it benefited from lawful residential use and there is no doubt that the residential use had not been abandoned. This guaranteed me specific statutory rights, which Dover District Council blatantly, and knowingly, ignored.
It is clear that both the Council’s legal department and planning department were fully aware of the lawful residential status of my property. Despite that, they went ahead with their intended action under the pretext that the residential use had ceased. The Chief Planning Officer gave deceptive and confusing advice to the Planning Committee, and later to the Planning Inspectorate, with the result that my bungalow was unlawfully demolished.