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Man devastated after being ordered to leave shipping container where he’s lived for 30 years

Jenny Medlicott

Published 
| Last updated 

Man devastated after being ordered to leave shipping container where he’s lived for 30 years

Stephen Gibbon, a 65-year-old man and former tip worker, has been living in shipping containers in South Wales since 1992. Now, after 30 years of calling them home, he’s been told he has to move out within the next six months. 

Mr Gibbon has lived on Lighthouse farm for 30 years.

Talking about the farm, Mr Gibbon said to the Daily Mail: “It was bought in 1990 by my father off the neighbour.”

“We bought the land for cattle and horses and such like, with no intention to live here.”

But then things changed, he said: "I got divorced and I had to live here. It isn't a secret and it never has been. It's not like I've just done this, I've lived here for 30 years. All the neighbours and everyone knows I'm here."

Credit: MEDIA WALES
Credit: MEDIA WALES
Credit: MEDIA WALES
Credit: MEDIA WALES

But despite the time he's spent in his home, it’s only now that the council has taken notice. He suspects his property was reported to the council by somebody he has previously fallen out with.

Newport’s council planning committee took issue with the fact that Mr Gibbons never applied for a change of use for the shipping containers and farm.

Credit: MEDIA WALES
Credit: MEDIA WALES

His living circumstances would require him to notify them that the containers and farm are now being used as a mixed-use facility, which would cover him for both living purposes and vehicle repair on his land.

However, Mr Gibbon did not notify the council and now has to move out.

He said: “It has taken me a long time to get it like this. It's taken a lot of time and work to make it better and better.”

His work over the years has resulted in a home with one bedroom, one bathroom, three living areas and various additional features, including marble flooring and a fireplace.

It’s safe to say a lot of work has gone into the home and Mr Gibbon's craftmanship is undeniable.

Credit: MEDIA WALES
Credit: MEDIA WALES

“I've had a great time here, I've brought four of my kids up here. It's the best place, and all the people love me. All the people vouch for me around here.”

But now, Mr Gibbon says that he has ‘lost everything’ because of the council’s decision.

He appealed the decision last year, but after an inspection from the planning inspector this week, the conclusion sided with the council.

Councillor and cabinet member James Clarke, said on the matter: “I'm pleased that Planning and Environmental Wales agreed with the council's assessment that this structure was erected without permission and deliberately concealed in order to bypass planning regulations.”

Now Mr Gibbon has said he is faced with a whopping £8,000 worth of administrative costs alongside an order to evacuate the property and return it to its original state within the next six months.

He said in response to the outcome: “It is upsetting, of course it is. I've got pictures of my kids living here when they were knee high. This has taken 30 years of love and care. What is the sense in me destroying it now.”

Featured Image Credit: Media Wales

Jenny Medlicott
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