Enforcement Officer versus Carers
My parents have been through so much stress and upset over the last 5 years because of a personal vendetta that Ben Hurst an enforcement officer at Staffordshire Leek and Moorlands holds against them. Around 5½ years ago Ben visited them at their home in Dilhorne and told them they had no business caring for the elderly in a tied property. He then enforced them with a certificate of unlawfulness. He wanted to take away their home and knock down a shed and a summerhouse. My parents are good people; they lost their son and wanted to do some good for others. They’ve been caring for special needs, learning disability and the elderly for years now and they are doing a brilliant job. Ben threatened my parents and told them he would take their home from them as they were living there unlawfully.
They went to court and proved him wrong, once they had won they were issued a certificate of lawfulness. They had to lose the costs on the promise they would receive this certificate costing them £27,000. The court said if they could prove their summerhouse had been built for 4 years it wouldn’t be a problem. They proved this and won the case and gained another certificate of lawfulness. Since, Ben has changed the goal post and said they need to prove the summerhouse has been there 10 years, knowing full well it hadn’t, he now wants them to take all the fixtures and fittings out of it. The court also said if they moved the other shed to their top yard they could keep it up, Sybil Ralph a councillor said she would get a team of men together to move it for them, however, there was not enough room on the top yard. Mr Chew the Inspectorate asked my parents to get proper plans drawn up for the shed costing them £1100, he then refused the shed for reasons unknown!! My parents tried for a written appeal but the council would not allow them to do it saying they had to go back to court knowing they had spent £70k and they were now penniless. The inspectorate came to look at the summerhouse on a written appeal and said he would look into special circumstances for them. The enforcement officer said to the inspectorate whist you’re here come and look at the other shed which they had the written appeal refused on, but they looked at it anyway.
The antics of the council has been to refuse them of appeal, notify the TV licensing people of not having TV licensees for the summerhouse, they electrify board was contacted for use of electric in my dad’s workshops and summerhouse, and finally they even contacted their mortgage lender informing them of the enforcements on their house. This resulted in Halifax writing a letter to tell my parents they wouldn’t lend them any further monies, after they had already used their entire life’s savings £76k fighting this case.
My parents’ home has an agricultural tie on it which the council insist they abide by the tie conditions, however, they won’t let them keep the shed, and they threaten to pull down some other sheds where my dad keeps cows because he can’t afford retrospective planning for them this enforcement officer will not leave them alone. The cow sheds have been there over 30 years with new fronts and roofs on. If they come down they can’t farm.
If the summerhouse comes down they can’t do extra care work, they both feel like giving up. They can’t afford anymore legal help we don’t know what else to do.
David Cameron suggests we do more care work in the community and encourage farmers to diversify!! Leek Moorlands want to take my parent’s home from under them preventing them doing anything. The enforcement officer said to them you won’t win the council he will personally grind them down until they have got nothing, I can’t let them lose their home to find the court costs because of some enforcement officer has a big chip on his shoulder and a personal vendetta to get them out of their home.
Please help us
SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP SMDC TAKING DOWN THE SHED AND SUMMERHOUSE