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'We would be homeless' - Gypsy couple vows to fight council to the end over enforcement

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 December 2019

Thomas Bibby and his wife Sasha at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant

Thomas Bibby and his wife Sasha at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant

Archant

A Gypsy family threatened with eviction say they will fight to the very end to stay in their home near Norwich Airport.

Thomas Bibby, who lives in a caravan on land off Holt Road in Hellesdon with his pregnant wife Sacha, could be forced to vacate it if he loses an upcoming planning appeal.

Norwich City Council took enforcement action against the couple in June calling for him to cease using it for residential purposes - but he has appealed against this.

And Mr Bibby, who has lived on the land for more than two years, has vowed to take the appeal all the way to the high court if he has to.

He said: "The land has been in my family for generations and I pay council tax to live here just like anybody else. I just want to stay here and raise a family with my wife.

"If my appeal fails we will effectively be made homeless - we would have nowhere else to go."

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Mr Bibby said he has always been keen to negotiate with the council and find a solution that will suit all parties, with bin collection arrangements among the sticking points.

Mr Bibby says the land, which is known as Plane View, is owned by his family, however, planning officers at City Hall say it is unregistered and to-date no evidence of ownership has been provided.

Mr Bibby added: "If we have to leave we would end up going from one place to the next and get moved on and on and on.

"All we want is somewhere we can live as a family away from the stigma that comes with being Gypsies.

"At the moment we are just one Gypsy family, but if we are moved on who is to say 30 others won't try and move onto it themselves? Then the council will have a much bigger problem."

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "Mr Bibby has taken up his right to appeal the enforcement notice served.

"The outcome of this now rests with the Planning Inspectorate, so we will await their decision."

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