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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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‘Bullied’ west Cumbrian couple living ‘life of hell’ - claim

A Dearham couple are being “corporately bullied” by a social landlord, according to an Allerdale councillor.

Mark Fryer described a “life of hell” being suffered by Jack and Alwyn Baker as work on a 38-home estate at Croft Crescent goes on around them.

The issue came to light after Home Group had to resubmit plans to Allerdale council’s development panel in relation to a house that was built 4.4cm closer to Mr and Mrs Baker’s home than original plans stated.

Mr Fryer told the panel: “I felt the couple were being corporately bullied.

“None of the provisos in the previous planning permission were being adhered to in any shape or form.

“It is absolutely essential that the starting and ending positions should be where they said they would be.”

He said he would speak to planning officers as a result of the case to encourage some sort of change.

The development panel approved the amended plans because there was insufficient evidence to refuse permission. Officers said that if the matter was taken to appeal and the council lost, it would have to foot the bill.

Mr Fryer said: “I went to see Mr Baker on a normal working day and it was chaos, there were vans everywhere and I couldn’t get to his property.

“These people have lived a life of hell.”

He added that Mr Baker’s concerns were not taken seriously.

Mr Baker, 79, said that they had never been opposed to improvements to the estate but felt they had been treated badly. He said they were living on a “building site”, with work vehicles blocking the pavement and dirt and dust everywhere.

Mr Baker added: “It has been 10 times worse than we thought it was going to be.”

Debbie Simmons and her husband Robin, 35, live next door to Mr and Mrs Baker.

Debbie, 32, said: “This isn’t all about the value of your house, it is about quality of life because we haven’t got one.”

Elsa Brailey, Home Group development manager, said that a mistake had arisen between the planning and construction drawings of the new property next to Mr and Mrs Baker.

She said that Home Group was not aware of the problem until the timber frame was up, although the site agent had been told.

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