A MAN who quit his Disney job of 20 years to live on an off-grid island has told how he couldn’t sleep after being ordered to vacate the property.
Saul Mahoney, 50, swapped his corporate job in London for a slower pace of life in Leicester.
Five years ago, Saul grabbed the island with his two dogs, Bonnie and Mika.
There he grew his own fresh produce and collected rainwater to wash his clothes.
But an unwelcome eviction notice threatened to destroy Saul’s new idyllic life – and he immediately appealed the decision.
“The reality is this: the council has a problem with me being here, they didn’t know the place existed and now they want to kick me out.”
The council then posted a statement on the resident’s fence explaining their concerns, while Saul printed his version of events so the public could make up their own minds.
The letter concerns a “breach of planning control” and the construction of the property “without planning permission”.
Oddly enough, the council originally welcomed Saul’s decision to move in five years ago.
“The crazy thing is that the council itself asked me to repurpose this empty building and wrote to me about it.”
“And that’s all I did.
“And now they have a problem with it.”
But after a stressful lead-up to the hearing, during which Saul “took sleeping pills” to get a proper night’s sleep, there was finally some good news.
“We won the appeal,” Saul told his daughter over the phone.
“The regulator found pretty much everything in our favor.
“I couldn’t ask for more.”
A squatter who lives next to railway tracks says he defended his property with a spade when an eviction squad tried to evict him.
Defiant Leo Fieran, 55, claims police and bailiffs chained him in his three meter high enclosure in April.
As he faces his latest battle for survival, the craftsman says he is ready to involve King Charles to defend his rights.
A spokesperson for Charnwood Borough Council said: “We apologize if this case, which was resolved in 2021, has caused distress to Mr Mahoney.
“Officers visited the site in April 2020 after a member of the public raised concerns about the residential occupancy of the existing building and the fact that other buildings and structures had been constructed on site.
“The letter issued in 2015 in connection with the vacant property was a standard letter sent to property owners when township tax records indicate a property has not been used for more than six months.
“On this occasion we accept that further information could have been provided to Mr Mahoney to ensure the use of the property in accordance with planning regulations, however this particular case was unique and complex.
“Mr Mahoney was advised that if he could provide evidence that the building had previously been used for residential purposes, the council would have to consider whether the use of the building was lawful.
“An enforcement notice was served in September 2020 as no evidence was provided. The owner appealed the decision.”
“On April 23, 2021, Mr. Mahoney provided an affidavit from the previous owner of the property confirming that he had previously occupied the building.
“The appeal was upheld on April 27, 2021 as various development works were carried out without planning permission.
Read more at the Scottish Sun
“Mr Mahoney won the appeal in 2021”