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Man with learning disabilities faces being evicted from his rural home

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 03, 2013

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A FATHER with learning disabilities faces the threat of eviction from his home near St Stephen because of planning policy red tape.

Locals have rallied behind Craig Martinhull, who lives in a caravan on the land at Brannel Mill, Coombe, following a proposal by Cornwall Council to turn him off the land.

His brother, Scott Martinhull, said if the council's proposal is approved it will spell a downward spiral for his older brother who worked hard to get his life back on track.

"Basically if they kick him off he is going to be homeless," said Scott, 40. "I think if he loses the land everything will topple down, he has a history of depression, and this will send him over the edge. We are asking the council to please let my brother stay.

"He is living up there and he is happy and it takes quite a lot for Craig to be happy."

If he loses his home it will also jeopardise the relationship with his children, one of which has autism, his brother said.

Since 1972 a caravan has been located on the small parcel of land, and various successful temporary planning permissions were made by the previous resident Norman Earland. Craig worked for him as an unpaid handyman and the two became friends, said Scott.

Mr Earland died a decade ago and Craig bought the land from the Duchy of Cornwall.

Scott, who runs Spot on Cabs added: "He borrowed £12,000 off mum to purchase the land and has paid it all back. For someone like Craig that's a big achievement."

However, in 2002 Cornwall Council refused an application to retain and live in the caravan, an appeal was also refused.

Cornwall Council served an enforcement notice in November 2011 to remove the caravan and other "domestic paraphernalia".

Now an application to stay on the land has been resubmitted. However, Cornwall Council's planning officers are recommending that this application should also be refused.

In a report it states it's in "an isolated and unsuitable rural location divorced from any settlement services and facilities".

However St Stephen-in-Brannel Parish Council supports the application.

Five letters of support have also been received

Cornwall councillor Des Curnow, for St Stephen-in-Brannel, said it appeared "a little bit silly" to remove the caravan when it has been on the land for decades.

A decision will be made at Cornwall Council's central sub-area planning committee report on Monday. (

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