Civic chiefs have approved enforcement action against someone who is believed to have been living on a Gloucestershire paddock without planning permission – despite concerns over a lack of evidence.

Officers say there has been a breach of planning control at land north of Rookery Lane in Newland in the Forest of Dean, writes Local Democracy Reporter Carmelo Garcia.

The Forest of Dean District Council’s planning committee on June 14 was told the site is being used to live on without planning permission.

Ward councillor Dave Wheeler (G, Newland & Sling) called on the committee to vote in favour of enforcement and said it was the “most egregious and blatant breach of planning control”.

He said: “Concerned residents have made it clear to me that the owner of the site has been using the land as a residential unit for some time. The permitted planning usage for the land is for personal equestrian use.

“As far as I’m aware the land has not been used in recent years for any equestrian usage at all and the officer has provided evidence that you have seen that the stable block is being used for residential storage.”

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However, Cllr Thom Forester (Independent Alliance, Mitcheldean, Ruardean & Drybrook) said: “From reading the paperwork, the evidence for the business is some screenshots from a Facebook post. What evidence do we have that it is being used residentially?

“Is it even illegal? I believe she would be allowed 28 days a year to stay there with a caravan. How do you know that she hasn’t stayed there 26 days as opposed to permanently?”

The council officer said the caravan had been witnessed at the site connected to the electricity supply in excess of 28 days.

He added that witnessed dog training taking place on the weekends while going to Monmouth. He also said residents are monitoring the site on a weekly basis.

“These are my personal opinions of that, that I’ve witnessed so those activities are occurring. The evidence is there that they have been living on the site in excess of those periods that are permitted,” the council officer said.

A subsequent vote to follow the officer’s recommendation was approved by six votes to three.

This means the council will issue an enforcement notice to cease the residential use of the site, to remove the camper van, touring caravan and all other residential paraphernalia stored within the outbuildings and stables.