Pine Ridge Farm residents fear losing access to their children
April 06, 2011
Parents living in a mobile home park have branded a decision to tear down their homes “barbaric” and say they will no longer be able to see their children if they are made homeless.
More than 20 families living at the Pine Ridge Farm mobile home site in Nine Mile Ride have been told they have 18 months to vacate their properties after the planning inspectorate dismissed an appeal for retrospective planning permission.
But those living at the site say they have nowhere to go and fear they will lose visitation rights to their children if they do not have a fixed address.
Site owner Felix Cash built the 22 mobile homes in 2009, without planning permission.
Wokingham Borough Council refused retrospective permission and issued two enforcement notices on the site last year.
And tenants have now been told they must leave the park after inspectors dismissed an appeal against the notices, saying the homes had already caused “serious and lasting harm” to the environment.
Jason Borg, who branded the decision “barbaric” has lived on the site on his own for almost a year and said he will lose access to his three-year-old son Daniel if he is made homeless.
The 37-year-old said: “If we have to move from here I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere for the same amount of money and because I’m a single male I am at the back of the council register.
“I will have to go back to living in my van. It’s freezing cold in the winter and you can’t eat properly. You can’t do that with a three-year-old.”
Scott Bond, 42, also said he will lose access to his 12-year-old and 13-year-old daughters if he is made homeless.
Mr Bond has been living in the park for just over a year after going through a divorce but he said he has been turned away from the council when looking for accommodation because he has a mortgage on his marital home.
He said: “This is a stable place here and it means I can see my kids more regularly. They can come here whenever they want.”
Some tenants have also expressed concerns that they would be forced to get rid of their pets if they had to move.
Caroline Marie Wallace, 49, has lived in her mobile home for two years but has been on the site for nearly nine years, living in another area of the park.
She said: “I’ve got five cats and a lot of other places say you cannot have cats. I’ve got two that are very ill and there’s no way I would have them put down. If I have to chain myself to the caravan I will.”
In a final judgement issued on Friday inspector Paul Morris said he had considered the personal circumstances of the occupiers but felt there were sufficient measures in place to help them in national and local systems.
Site owner Mr Cash said: “Where are all these people going to go? These people have kids and things and there’s a shortage of houses.”
“They’re devastated. I can’t even look at them because they’re just devastated.”