'Squatter' couple win right to use land as garden
- Credit: Liz Coates
A couple who fenced off a pocket of land near their home can continue using it as their private garden, planners have ruled.
Kent and Donna Barron took partial control of the plot near their home in Blackbird Close, Bradwell, via the adverse possession route used by squatters more than three years ago.
Following a complaint and questions about ownership they were told to apply for a retrospective change of use.
The decision ends a stressful saga for the couple during which they were branded "thieves" on social media.
After the planning meeting on Wednesday night the couple said they were relieved and happy to draw a line under the saga.
"I will be able to sleep now," Mrs Barron said.
During the debate at Great Yarmouth Borough Council Tony Wright said the issue was straightforward.
"I do not see any problem with this application," he said.
- 1 Mum describes heartache year on from daughter's tragic death
- 2 North Norfolk road closed with drivers asked to avoid area
- 3 Body found in the sea at Great Yarmouth
- 4 Popular teacher, 55, died after falling down stairs, inquest hears
- 5 Banksy work removed and put in museum due to local sensitivity
- 6 Police on hand as anti-vaccine protesters gather in city
- 7 Investigations continue after woman on mobility scooter assaults man
- 8 Hope for WASPI women as MPs back compensation call
- 9 Teenager died of injuries six days after crash
- 10 One of East Anglia's largest property builders is sold to investment firm
"It all looks good and legal and above board."
Bernard Williamson said it was "a positive move" the land had been taken into ownership and would be maintained.
The saga began when Mr and Mrs Barron fenced off the land which had been vacant for around 20 years after an electricity pylon was removed.
Having tried to track down the owner and buy it they took adverse possession, as advised by the Land Registry.
However, three years later they were reported to planners for not applying for a change of use amid concerns about loss of open space and setting a precedent.
Ahead of a meeting officers said in their report to development control committee members that ownership was not a planning issue while noting the couple had done all they could to buy it.
Since the bid had been submitted they were able to track down the original builder and seal a deal.
The ward councillors had voiced objections but opted not to speak against the bid at the meeting.
Permission was granted on condition that no structures are erected on the plot - thought to include a gazebo currently in place.
Although the couple now own the whole plot, the change of use only applies to the fenced off area.
Mr Barron told the meeting he would be happy to discuss plans for a bus shelter on the remaining portion facing the street.