Hemswell man has been ​waiting for two decades to build ‘forever home’ for him and his wife

Alan Morris on his plot of land in HemswellAlan Morris on his plot of land in Hemswell
Alan Morris on his plot of land in Hemswell
​Two decades ago, a man set about creating a forever home self-build for him and his wife in Hemswell, but today he stands on a plot of what if’s and should have been’s.

Alan Morris showed our Local Democracy Reporter around the plot of land he bought for £95,000 almost 20 years ago, sharing where he thought he’d be in 2024 when purchasing the former blacksmiths forge on Brook Street in Hemswell.

He said: “I always thought I’d be sitting out in the garden with a glass of wine, enjoying my retirement home self-build.”

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The developer hoped to convert the former forge into a forever home for him and his wife, but back-and-forths with district council planners, as well as a slanderous allegation about his intentions, have held back his vision.

Mr Morris was granted approval for his house conversion at the first time of asking, but a 2006 structural survey he had not been made aware of before purchasing the land reportedly read that the building must be demolished, meaning another application was required.

Despite saying he was “advised” by council officers, architects and archaeologists to demolish the site, Alan was faced with multiple enforcement letters by West Lindsey District Council, accusing him of ripping cornerstones out that he says were already removed “before we even came to Lincolnshire.”

Multiple planning applications have followed, but Alan can’t seem to get the seal of approval from the council in recent times, so he is currently in the process of drawing up fresh proposals for the authority’s planning team to look at.

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The long-term implications on this have been clear for Alan, who already had foundations in place at the build, which are now being flooded by leaks nearby. This is an issue he says is costing him money and he’s been trying to sort for months, but to no avail thus far.

When asked what his idea of utopia would be in this long-drawn out affair, Mr Morris said all he wants is to be able to “get on with the house rebuild” before it’s too late to be used as a retirement home for him and his wife.

West Lindsey District Council were contacted for comment, but no reply was received by the time of publication.