‘You wouldn’t be allowed to throw a dog outdoors at this time of year without being prosecuted’: North Norfolk District Council branded ‘inhumane’ for evicting pensioner in row over cliff-top home
- Credit: Archant
A grandmother who is being evicted from her cliff-top home in Happisburgh has branded the local authority 'inhumane' for making her homeless in the middle of winter.
Seventy-one-year-old Bryony Nierop-Reading had been given until January 7 to quit the caravan in Beach Road where she has been living since her neighbouring bungalow had to be demolished following storm surge damage three years ago.
But, with no officers from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) turning up at the weekend, she remained in her mobile home last night.
Mrs Nierop-Reading, who revealed she blamed the loss of her bungalow on the council for not providing adequate sea defences, said: 'They are trying to make me homeless at the worst possible time of year. Had I been made homeless (on Saturday) I would have had to live in a tent with frost and snow coming.
'I want to move out but why are the council trying to force me out before I have somewhere else to go?
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'My problem is I won't have anywhere to go until April when I can buy another house. I feel they could be reasonable and give me this very short space of time to get things sorted out.
'They say if they do that other people would expect concessions. But I would like to say to the council perhaps they are being inhumane to all of us and maybe they should stop trying to be policemen and start trying to enable us instead.'
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In a personal plea to Council leader Tom FitzPatrick, she added: 'You wouldn't be allowed to throw a dog outdoors at this time of year without being prosecuted and with bad weather coming it is only reasonable to leave me here.'
The pensioner was originally told by NNDC to leave her caravan home by July 2, 2015. She lost an appeal but the date was extended.
But with a further 'chunk' of cliff - including the road - collapsing onto the beach in the early hours of Sunday morning and uncertainty over her future, she revealed she is living life on the edge.
Mrs Nierop-Reading, whose double garage reached the end of the road over Christmas, said: 'It is quite frightening. I'm getting too close (to the edge) for my comfort.
'I will be quite glad to be further away because even this morning when I was lying in bed I heard this horrific noise when a huge concrete slab has gone over - you can hear when big cliff falls happen because it reverberates through everything.'
The grandmother, who revealed she endured a 'terrrible Christmas', is in negotiation with the council over the loan of a container to secure her belongings and clear the way for her move.
But, with no concrete assurances from the local authority, the threat of being made homeless remains hanging over her head.
Mrs Nierop-Reading said: 'It could be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. They've sent me an email saying I can't have any longer but at the moment I have nowhere else to live. But she added: 'I don't want to stay there. I own a house inland which my son-in-law, daughter, three children, three cats, four chickens and a dog live in, and I was not prepared to make them homeless in order to take my house back. So I've been stuck in a mobile caravan while they have been negotiating a mortgage which they are hopeful they might get through by the middle of March.
'The council are fully aware of it, they are intent on achieving their end which is to make people conform to the Local Plan which I think says this is a non-residential area and that is their objection of my being there.'
A council spokesman said: 'We are working with Mrs Nierop-Reading to ensure she can meet the requirements of the enforcement notice. The notice was upheld by the Planning Inspector at appeal and we have a duty to the residents of Happisburgh to ensure compliance and make sure we apply a fair and consistent approach to all.'