FENLAND: When is a house not a house? Farmer's widow finds out from council

IT may look like a home, and farmer s widow Edna Franks paints a nostalgic description of living there, but Fenland District Council has ruled it can no longer be considered a house. How Post Mill Farm, Benwick Road, Doddington, should now be described is

IT may look like a home, and farmer's widow Edna Franks paints a nostalgic description of living there, but Fenland District Council has ruled it can no longer be considered a house.

How Post Mill Farm, Benwick Road, Doddington, should now be described is a matter of conjecture....but a house it most definitely isn't.

Following a legal procedure Fenland Council has ruled against it allowing it to remain listed as a house.

Case office Bill Tilley concluded: "It is my opinion that there is insufficient evidence of continuous occupation of the dwelling to issue a certificate of lawful use."

His view has been endorsed by Rebecca Yew, head of development services, who has signed a refusal notice, claiming there has been no evidence of occupation for 10 years, one of the requirements to ensure it retains its status as a house.

Mrs Franks put forward a 'statutory declaration' in which she describes how she and her late husband moved there in 1951 after buying 200 acres of land nearby to farm.

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Mr and Mrs Franks left in 1961 after buying additional farm land at Primrose Hill, Doddington.

She also described how for 32 years, and until 1993, the house was let to one a farm labourer.

Mrs Franks says she never wanted to sell the property, thinking her grandchildren may want to return there in the future.

"I never considered renting it out in the last few years but there was always an intention to keep the house in the family with a view to returning to it," she says. "Granting a certificate will encourage the family plan for the property's repair to bring it into a more habitable state and once again make it available for occupation."

To do so she must now appeal to the Secretary of the State for the Environment.

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