Couple outwit planners

A PROPERTY developer yesterday won his battle to outwit planners by building a £500,000 (€570,000) home disguised as a barn on protected Green Belt land.

Alan Beesley and his wife, Sarah, had faced eviction from their two-storey house but yesterday the Court of Appeal restored a ruling that the couple had acted within the law.

Beesley was granted permission to build a barn for agricultural use only but fitted it out as a house with three bedrooms, a study, bathroom, lounge, reception area, storeroom and gym.

From the outside, the property, North Brook Meadow near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, looks like any other hay barn with a curved roof, no windows, and surrounded by farmyard machinery.

The couple used a legal loophole which grants a certificate of lawfulness to homeowners who have lived in a property for more than four years – even if they failed to obtain the correct planning permission.

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