A COUPLE face being forced from their home – and even seeing the six-bedroom house demolished – over a planning row about kennels.
John McGlynn, 59, – brother of the Bay City Rollers’ Pat McGlynn – and his wife Yvonne, say they moved into Loanview House near Straiton 11 years ago shortly after being granted planning permission to build it.
Midlothian Council set condition at the time that 60 kennels and a cattery that the McGlynns also wanted to build had to be complete by July 1, 2012, in order for them to continue living there.
The couple say they have been living “under a guillotine” for seven years after John was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006. At the time they had completed only 30 kennels and have been unable to finish the work since.
Despite trying to get the condition altered or removed, the couple received an enforcement notice in January and now face losing their home if an appeal – heard this week at a public inquiry by the Scottish Government – is not successful.
Mr McGlynn said: “The past few years have been torrid. All we want to do is run the kennels we have that are sitting ready to go and not have this condition there like a guillotine over our heads.
“When I got ill, I couldn’t do anything. I thought I was going to die – I’m still not in the best of health.
“We’ve spent all our savings and everything we have had on this project, and now we could be left homeless.”
The six-bedroom home and existing luxury kennels – which include a walk-in shower and grooming room – have a rebuild value of around £1 million.
A reception area, vet’s room, storage rooms and foundations for the remaining kennels were also built.
Insurance advisor Mrs McGlynn, 55, said: “The council just let us keep working, trying to finish the house and the kennels.
“And then in January they sent us this notice to say they would take steps to put us out of the house or pull it down. We just want to live in peace and get on with running our kennels as a business.”
The couple say a plea to have the condition amended to 30 kennels so they could start up the business was refused, and they now wish to see the condition entirely removed as the climate for starting new businesses has worsened.
They applied for a Certificate of Lawful Use, which can be issued to people who have lived in their property for ten years and means they are immune from enforcement action. But the application was refused amid doubts over whether the McGlynns had lived in the house for a decade.
The McGlynns say they moved into the unfinished house in 2001 from a caravan when John’s health started to decline as a result of what would later be diagnosed as bowel cancer.
An appeal against the decision was this week heard at a public inquiry by the Scottish Government, the results of which are expected in the next six weeks.
Officials for the inquiry have demanded to see evidence such as a TV licences and other paperwork from the couple to prove when they moved in.
John said: “If we don’t win this appeal in six weeks’ time, we are going to be homeless.
“At first, I wanted to build 60 kennels – I suppose that was a bit ambitious – but whether it’s 30 or 60 kennels, it’s still a business.
“The action the council is taking seems pointless because if we had applied for 30 kennels in the first instance, we would have been fine.”
While demolition of the house is an option should the council win the case, a Midlothian Council spokesman said it would be “extremely unlikely”.
“No firm decisions on how we proceed in this position have been taken yet,” he said.
“However, it is extremely unlikely that we would order the demolition of this house.”