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I built a £500,000 home on my own land – now the council wants me to pull it down but I refuse… I’m taking it to court

A PENSIONER who illegally built a house on greenbelt land but is refusing to knock it down is being taken to court.

Peter Dick, 74, constructed the £500,000 detached property on a plot of land he owned in 2010 without getting planning permission.

Peter Dick’s illegally-built detached house in Dorset
The 74-year-old has been ordered to tear the bungalow down

The chalet bungalow is fortified by an 8ft-high, 20ft-long metal gate with a padlock and barbed wire designed to repel unwanted visitors.

His application to legalise the property in West Parley, Dorset, was denied in 2012.

At the time, local planning officers described the red-bricked house as “dull and featureless”.

Mr Dick made a final appeal to the planning inspectorate which also failed.

He ignored a legal order to demolish the house in 2012 and another one in 2019 which gave him eight months to comply.

BCP Council took him to court in July last year for refusing to knock it down after complaints from local residents.

He was found guilty and was again ordered to bulldoze the house but ignored it and this week appeared back in Poole Magistrates’ Court charged with another breach of enforcement, which he denied.

Mary Almeida, representing BCP Council, told magistrates: “The plot of land, called Longcroft, in West Parley, is in the south east Dorset greenbelt area.

“An enforcement notice was served back in 2012 and continues to be enforceable.

“Mr Dick hasn’t complied with that notice which requires him to remove a building he has erected on the land.”

In response to the magistrates’ question about why it had taken a decade to come to court, Ms Almeida said: “The council have been trying to work with Mr Dick to remove the offending building, but he hasn’t done so.

“Applications for planning permission were made, which were refused, to see if the dwelling could be made lawful.

“We need that dwelling removed because of where it is.”

Mr Dick, who has been described as secretive and reclusive, claimed in a previous application that he had converted an industrial warehouse on the site into a dwelling in 2003.

He said at that stage it was only used on an ad-hoc basis like a holiday home, but he and his wife moved onto the site full-time by 2006.

It is thought he then built a red-brick property next to the steel clad former warehouse in 2010 and tried to get retrospective permission for it.

It is on Grade 4 agricultural land and within 1,300ft (400m) of a protected heathland, a special conservation area and a site of special scientific interest.

David Kelsey, chairman of the planning committee at BCP Council, said: “He seems to be one of those people who think they can do what they like and don’t have to abide by the planning rules everyone else does.

“It is frustrating for everyone concerned as it sends the wrong message, and the court agreed with us that it was an illegally built home.”

He added: “The problem with building something without permission is that you run the very real risk of losing it further down the line.

“To build on greenbelt land is an especially bad thing – it’s a real no, no.

“Planning laws are there for a reason. What would happen if everyone built whatever they liked?

“He’ll have to remove it at his own cost – I wish he’d thought far more about it at the beginning.”

A BCP Council spokesperson, said: “We are continuing enforcement action against Mr Peter Dick following the construction of a dwelling on his land at West Parley without planning permission.

“In July 2021, Mr Dick was found guilty following a trial, of failing to adhere to an extant enforcement notice, which required him to demolish the building.

“He was then given four months to comply with the enforcement notice.

“Officers have since been in contact with Mr Dick, attended the property and seen no attempt to comply with the notice.

“We have therefore recommenced legal proceedings. If found guilty Mr Dick risks increasing fines and court costs.

“There is also the possibility that the council may take direct action against Mr Dick.

“We have a strong commitment to planning enforcement and to protecting our local environment and we will continue to diligently investigate and pursue matters brought to our attention, take formal action and prosecute where appropriate.”

Mr Dick will appear in court again next February.

When approached at his property, he declined to comment as there was a case pending.

The pensioner built the house his land in 2010 without getting planning permission
The entrance to Mr Dick’s property

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