In 2016, Ivor Barette made his 19th century farmhouse in St Mary something of an Island landmark when he adorned it with signs criticising the government and the Planning Department after he was fined £50,000 by the Royal Court for carrying out renovation work without permission.
Two years later, the States Complaints Board ruled in his favour and Planning’s handling of the case is now the subject of an independent review.
Mr Barette has now removed the signs from the house and has transferred ownership of the property to his daughter in the hope that she will gain consent to make alterations.
‘I can’t afford to complete the work, and no one will lend money to someone my age,’ Mr Barette (70), said.
He added: ‘I have given the property to my daughter and I hope that she will be able to complete the work.’
Mr Barette said that his daughter would be meeting planning officials to discuss the future of the site, and as a result he had agreed to take down the banners ahead of this meeting.
He said: ‘The dispute isn’t over, and I’m keeping the banners in a shed in case I need them again, but hopefully that won’t be necessary.’
In 2018 the States Complaints Board ruled that Mr Barette had been dealt with in an ‘oppressive and overtly discriminatory way’ by the Planning Department, with officials’ monitoring of his property dubbed ‘excessive’ by the board.
Environment Minister John Young initiated an independent review in January 2020 – this review has been carried out by Norfolk Constabulary, and Mr Barette said he expects to receive a ruling soon.
Mr Barette estimated that in total, including the £50,000 fine and legal costs, he has lost £100,000 as a result of the matter.
‘I didn’t do anything wrong and I would like to get my money back,’ he said. ‘I’ve been told that the Norfolk Police report should be published later in September, so at the moment that’s what I’m waiting for.’