Former butcher takes to the streets of Fenland town to launch £7,000 bill protest
PUBLISHED: 16:52 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 02 June 2010
By Tom Jackson FORMER butcher John Gawthorp took to the streets of Chatteris this week to protest about a £7,000 bill from Fenland District Council for demolishing his home. Two years after Mr Gawthorp and his wife watched their home being demolished – a
By Tom Jackson
FORMER butcher John Gawthorp took to the streets of Chatteris this week to protest about a £7,000 bill from Fenland District Council for demolishing his home.
Two years after Mr Gawthorp and his wife watched their home being demolished - and the remains set alight- he is angry at the amount he's been forced to pay the council to hire demolition contractors.
He's used a Freedom of Information request to discover that only one firm tendered for the job to remove his home at Bedlam Bridge near March which he had occupied without planning permission.
Mr Gawthorp, 62, later lost an appeal to prevent his removal and both he and his wife were still living in a converted stable on the three acre plot when contractors arrived with a court order to tear it down.
"I feel this is my last chance" said Mr Gawthorp as he mounted his protest in New Road, Chatteris, not far from the council's one stop shop where he claims he had been given verbal permission to live in the house was given.
However the council has always denied the accusation and say they went to "very great lengths" to get him to comply with planning laws.
"His appeal against was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate, which described the building as 'an alien structure in the Fenland landscape,'" said a council spokesman. .
"Mr Gawthorp still refused to comply even after being sent a final written warning. "We were left with no option but to take direct action and demolish the building."
Meanwhile Mr Gawthorp continues to protest at the cost of demolition and says he has run round and discovered it should have cost a matter of hundreds of pounds and not thousands.
He is also collecting signatures on a petition to protest at the charges and by last night 200 had signed.
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