A west Suffolk man who has been faced with homelessness amid an ongoing planning row with a council has said he has been on hunger strike for an entire week. 

Tony Edgar currently lives in Stanley Lodge, a bungalow off Fen Road in Pakenham which he said he built under permitted development as an outbuilding for his former home, Newbury, back in 2010.

Now, he has been faced with enforcement action, meaning he could be made to leave the property, as Stanley Lodge has not been permitted for independent residential use.

Due to the matter, he says he has reached his seventh day of hunger strike in a bid to gain recognition for his situation. 

"It's not a thing anyone would like to do but it is to try and get the message out and to get people to understand what is going on," he said.

"The council has got no empathy at all in my situation. Anyone in my position would have done what I would've done to try and keep a roof over my head." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Stanley Lodge in PakenhamStanley Lodge in Pakenham (Image: Charlotte Bond)

After suffering a stroke in 2014, and losing his wife just two years later, Mr Edgar, a former builder who is now unable to work, said he moved into Stanley Lodge after he opted to rent and eventually sell Newbury, in 2020.

In February, a West Suffolk Council spokesperson said enforcement officers visited the site in 2010 and numerous times after warning Mr Edgar that the building was not to be used as a home.

Mr Edgar said he was granted outline approval to build a home elsewhere on his plot of land, but that this is not a viable option as he cannot afford to do so.

He said he instead wants the permission for this potential home to be allowed on Stanley Lodge.

However, an application for continued use of the bungalow as a dwelling was refused by West Suffolk Council on February 9. 

West Suffolk Council approved permission for a garage next to the property in July 2023. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Tony Edgar in front of his garage that was approved Tony Edgar in front of his garage that was approved (Image: Charlotte Bond)

An appeal against the enforcement notice is currently with an independent Planning Inspector.

Mr Edgar, who said going on hunger strike has been 'humiliating' but 'needed' in order to get his message across, added: "If they evicted me they have still got to find me somewhere to live, it is just not logical.

"They could sort the whole problem out by just giving lawful use on the building. 

"I can't back down, I really can't. I will do what I have to."

He said social services have visited his home during his hunger strike and he told them to tell West Suffolk Council to resolve the planning issues.

In February, a West Suffolk Council spokesperson said they were 'sympathetic' to Mr Edgar's situation but that they cannot take 'personal circumstance' into consideration in planning applications.

They continued: "Once it was clear in 2019 it was being used as a separate residence without planning permission an investigation followed and an enforcement notice was issued.

"An application to retain the building as a separate dwelling was recently refused.

"West Suffolk Council, as the Local Planning Authority is legally required to follow local development management policies and national planning policy framework.

"Due to the fact it is now going through the legal process of a planning appeal the Council cannot comment further and the matter will be determined by the Planning Inspectorate."

On Friday, a spokesperson for West Suffolk Council, said: "We are very concerned for Mr Edgar and his wellbeing and have already sought support for him through the appropriate authorities.

"We have spoken to Mr Edgar and his daughter and are discussing options as we want to give Mr Edgar the confidence to end his hunger strike."