Blackboys bus family can stay

A couple who live in a bus in Blackboys have been told they can stay.

Ines Bolumburu, her partner Robert Flynn and their two children have lived in the bus at Quicken Wood on the south side of Blackboys since about 2002. Originally there were two buses, the other occupied by another family.

The couple say they have striven to establish and maintain a self-sufficient smallholding and operate an enterprise growing and selling organic vegetables, eggs, hay, herbs and producing charcoal for artists and barbecues. They also rely on renewable energy generated on site.

Appeals against four of Wealden’s enforcement notices were allowed, with temporary permissions given.

In April 2008 the council issued a further notice against residential use of the land and the couple were given a further 12 month permission. A further limited permission was granted in August 2010 but a condition was imposed that the bus should go from the site by March last year.

A planning inspector said the bus cannot be seen from land further south or the main Halland to Heathfield road. He said the couple have demonstrated there is an ‘essential need’ to live on site to aid their work on the land.

He also pointed out their operation has a ‘qualified economic and social benefit.’ The council’s assessment of the visual impact of the bus in and landscape of the AONB must be set against prudent use of natural resources, minimising waste and moving to a low carbon economy. They have now been told they can remain on the land but once they leave it residential use must stop.