SHATTERED: Shane and Roxanne Thorpe in front of the granny flat that council has ordered be demolished. The family are moving back to Sydney for work this weekend. Photo: Adam Hourigan
SHATTERED: Shane and Roxanne Thorpe in front of the granny flat that council has ordered be demolished. The family are moving back to Sydney for work this weekend. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Dream turns into a nightmare over illegal Tucabia flat

A TUCABIA couple discovered the Clarence Valley Council will not budge when it comes to building regulations, after they tried to live in an unapproved granny flat while building their house.

Shane and Roxanne Thorpe moved to Tucabia with their son Ryan in September, hoping to escape the bustle of Sydney living.

They bought some land and got a development application to build their dream house.

"We bought a caravan while I looked for work to continue building our house," Mr Thorpe said. "But the caravan was too hot for three people.

"I built a granny flat so we would have somewhere to live while I looked for work."

Mr Thorpe said he could not afford a development application for the granny-flat and he was still looking for work.

"The granny flat is only 6m x 6m; it's not very big. They open the books, say these are the rules and that's it."

Mr Thorpe was fined $1080 for building the granny flat and a bathroom facility in a separate shed without approval and building below the flood level.

However, Mr Thorpe said there were similar style buildings without approval in the area, pointing out his neighbour rented out a granny flat that was foumore than one metre lower than the one he built.

Council environment, planning and community director Des Schroder said building regulations were in place to protect home owners and the rest of the community.

"We need to be confident the buildings in which people are living are safe and their living arrangements, including the disposal of effluent and other waste, does not damage the environment or impact adversely on neighbours," he said.



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