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'No crime, so no action,' say police called to 'rave'

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: September 06, 2011

  • Stig and Dinah Mason at their small-holding in Willand

  • Dinah and Stig Mason with sons Yosse, 8, and Dahli, 9, and Moo the dog at their lorry home MARCUS THOMPSON EXMT20110614F-003_C

  • Dinah and Stig Mason EXMT20110614F-001_C

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POLICE were called to a late-night party on land in Mid Devon where a couple were refused planning permission to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle.

Three officers were called to Muxbeare Orchard, Willand, owned by Stig and Dinah Mason, at around 11.40pm following a report of a "rave" on Saturday, August 20.

A spokesperson for Devon & Cornwall Police said no crime had been committed and the volume of the music was reduced immediately on request.

PCSO Adrian Legg said: "Officers arrived and ask them to turn the music down and no offences were committed so, for us, that was the end of the matter.

"We have only had one report of a party in the history of that location since 1994."

Mr and Mrs Mason spent at least a year transforming what was a neglected four-acre plot into a smallholding with chickens and a 400 sq m allotment.

They say there is a need for them to live on site because the orchard, polytunnels and chickens need tending to on a daily basis.

It is a dream of theirs to live a sustainable lifestyle by growing their own food and selling on the surplus, but planning and enforcement officers for Mid Devon District Council do not believe there is justification to allow residential use of agricultural land.

A court order was also served on the land in order to prevent unlawful habitation.

Jonathan Guscott, head of planning for the district council, told the Gazette in June: "While some would like the Masons to stay living on the land, we are under pressure from other residents and the parish council, who expect us to take action. We get monthly reports of people trying to set up homes on land where they shouldn't and, if ignored, the impact on the countryside would be significant."

The couple are appealing the council's decision to refuse planning permission to build a dwelling on site and an informal hearing will be held at Tiverton Town Hall on Wednesday, September 14.

The Gazette has been unable to contact the Masons and it is not yet clear whether they were hosting the party.

A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "There was continuous thumping music and they had fireworks between 10.10pm and 10.30pm – we are not happy down here at all."

A spokesperson for Mid Devon District Council said: "The County Court injunction prohibits the use of the land for residential purposes.

"We have been made aware of the social gatherings by concerned neighbours and are currently assessing whether there are any court order implications and we will monitor the situation."

Click on the links below for more stories and reaction on Stig and Dinah Mason...

Injunction to move by the end the of month

Father's plea for 'carbon neutral' couple rejected

Carbon-neutral couple's case 'is not exceptional'

Father writes in support of 'off-grid' family facing eviction from their own land

So can I take over a field?

We can learn from Masons

Appalling that such hard work should go to waste

A better life is in our power

Read more from Tiverton Mid Devon Gazette

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  • JohnJackie  |  September 14 2011, 4:07PM

    JohnJackie So the Mason's had a party with loud music, with fireworks between 10.10pm and 10.30pm, were they commiting a criminal offence no, they turned the music down when requested by the police. I Live in Willand on the Willand Moor Estate and neighbours occasionally have parties with loud music and would you believe, sometimes even fireworks. It's people enjoying themselves now and again. Live and let live, obviously not for some nimbys who live in Muxbeare Lane, but they will be the same people who have been agitating to get rid of the Mason's from the moment they started living there judging purely on their looks and lifestyle.

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  • Brynzin  |  September 07 2011, 10:15PM

    These people are to be applauded. So many people wish they could live like this. The councils around the country should make more provision for people to live a wholesome healthy life style. Respect to them.

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