Council tows van lifer’s 33ft motorhome leaving him ‘to sleep in the woods’

The owner of a self-converted motorhome has been left ‘devastated’ after Kirklees Council towed it away.

Jonathan Golding was living in the 33-ft long Volvo which had been converted from a coach.

He says he had to park up on Ashbrow Road in the Fartown area of Huddersfield after the 30-year-old vehicle developed engine problems while he was driving to a friend’s house in mid-November.

He ordered a part from Sweden, which took some time to arrive, but then discovered a flat battery which he was about to replace when the vehicle was taken away on Monday, January 22.

He says the vehicle was parked in a ‘layby’ used as a parking area and claims the vehicle is “tax and MOT exempt”.

However, Kirklees council says it was obstructing the road, wasn’t taxed and didn’t have a valid MOT.

Jonathan, 31, says he had told Kirklees Council about his circumstances after the local authority had warned him to remove the vehicle.

Jonathan says he tried to tell Kirklees that the vehicle was not ‘abandoned’ as he was living in it and attempting to get it fixed.

It is thought that the council acted following complaints from residents in Ashbrow Road.

Jonathan, who is unemployed, told YorkshireLive: “I have been homeless for years and ‘sofa surfing’.

“In November I thought ‘why not get a motorhome’ which would save me stress, and money.

“It was my home. I didn’t want to believe it.

“I had been in contact with them (Kirklees) and they knew the situation. They just went ahead and took it.

“It was my home. I thought I was getting somewhere.”

After the motorhome was taken, Jonathan says he slept for a couple of nights in local woods and is now living with a friend in Dewsbury.

He says the situation is badly affecting his mental health.

He added: “The worst thing is the council knew that by taking it that they would be taking my home.

“The council knew they would make me homeless.”

Jonathan has been told that it will cost £384 plus £20 per day to get his vehicle back which means he now owes almost £600.

He says the motorhome is worth about £4,000 and has sentimental value as well.

He has been given a deadline of Friday, February 2, to recover the motorhome from storage.

In a letter to Jonathan, dated January 26, Kirklees explained why it had taken the vehicle under the ‘Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978’.

It said: “Kirklees Council has written to you on 4th December 2023 and served noticed on you on the 14th December requiring removal of the vehicle within 15 days.

“Despite numerous attempts to engage with you about the removal you failed to remove the vehicle and on Monday 22nd January 2024 the vehicle was removed by our recovery agents.

“As discussed on the phone to yourself and via email, you can recover the vehicle from Teale’s Garage, Leeds Road, Mirfield.

“If you wish to recover the vehicle a payment as of Tuesday 23rd January 2024 would be £384 plus and additional £20 per day for storage to be paid by yourself.

“You have 10 days as of Tuesday 23rd January 2024 that being Friday 2nd February 2024 to recover the vehicle.

“If you are to recover your vehicle it must not be stored on the public highway and must be kept on private property, a drive or in a garage.

“If the vehicle is to be kept on the highway after you recover it, Kirklees Council will consider further enforcement action.”

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “The safety of residents and commuters on our road network is a top priority for the council.

“Last week, officers legally removed a large coach, which had been parked on the highway in Fartown for some time, after first being made aware of it in November 2023.

“The council received numerous complaints about the vehicle.

“Upon investigation, it became apparent that, as well as obstructing the highway, the vehicle was not taxed and did not have a valid MOT.

“Our teams have been in contact with the owner several times to ensure they have the support they need, and they were given the opportunity to move the vehicle to an appropriate location.

“As the vehicle was not moved by the owner, the council have done the responsible thing and removed it.

“The owner has been provided with all of the relevant information needed to resolve the issue.”

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katey jane andrews February 2, 2024 at 7:54 am

insane uk

Eddie Edwards February 2, 2024 at 8:38 am

Think I’m torn here. I have a motorhome and pay for it to be legally on the road, so why shouldn’t he.

Will Sherratt February 2, 2024 at 2:54 pm

Can’t quite believe the sentimental value statement. Its not like he had had it for that long.
Have to admit I’m more on the councils wavelength with this one.


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