Isle of Man eco-home: Court rules man must leave woodland cabin

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Image caption, Daniel Richardson's home was nominated for a Unesco biosphere award in 2019

A man who has lived in a cabin in the woods near Ramsey for two years has been told to leave after a court ruled he had no right to be there.

The land at Nut Glen, where Daniel Richardson built his eco-home in 2018, was proved to belong to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Deemster John Needham dismissed his claim on the area and advised he must leave next year.

Mr Richardson built his cabin three years ago on part of the glen he argued was a 'no man's land' with no owner.

The structure, put together from reclaimed and recycled material, was nominated for Unesco biosphere award in 2019.

Later that year the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) claimed he was on government property and launched legal proceedings against him.

Image source, Simon Park Photography
Image caption, The cabin in Nut Glen was built with reclaimed and recycled materials

After speaking to witnesses and being presented with a variety of maps and deed plans, including a conveyance document from 1949, Deemster Needham ruled that the land belonged to DEFA and issued a possession order.

Passing the judgement on 29 September, he praised Mr Richardson as a "thoughtful and intelligent man" and said "prior to the involvement of the experts no-one was sure of the exact position of the boundary".

The Deemster said Mr Richardson would "find it hard to reconcile himself with the requirement to move from this lovely glen that he has tended".

Despite the outcome, Mr Richardson said he was "hopeful of meeting whoever the new environment minister will be so we can decide a new approach" before he is evicted.

In the meantime, he said he was "getting on with life, stocking wood and harvesting potatoes for the winter".

DEFA welcomed the judgement and said it "hoped the time given for Mr Richardson to leave the land will give him chance to find somewhere more suitable" and "wished him well".

"The community uses planning to decide where building takes place, and whilst we welcome aspects of the approach to sustainability Mr Richardson was seeking to adopt, it is important this is not simply viewed as a matter of land ownership," it added.

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