Mysterious disappearance of £500k home on Humberston Avenue prompts council investigation
MYSTERY surrounds why a £500,000 family home which has stood on Humberston Avenue since the 1970s was razed to the ground within an hour – without planning permission.
Peter and Jennifer Watt had lived in the three-storey house for 16 years and had no intention of moving, when they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse.
After putting attached land – which has planning permission for two homes – on the market with Scotts Properties, a buyer offered to pay over-market value for the whole site.
The shocked couple agreed and believing the new owners were keen to move into their beloved home, left within a week of the deal.
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But as dusk fell last Friday – just two weeks on – the silhouettes of huge JCBs could be seen on the site.
Powerless neighbours watched in shock as the machines tore the house down, in a scene they compare to the helicopter attack in cult film Apocalypse Now.
North East Lincolnshire Council has confirmed this was done without planning permission, destroying all trees on the site, including one ash subject to a Tree Preservation Order, and an investigation has been launched.
Mr and Mrs Watts said: “It’s horrifying! We are shell shocked. We just can’t believe it has happened. It was a beautiful family home filled with memories.
“The neighbours must have been terrified. Imagine settling down for your tea and then seeing that?”
Equipment was seen pulling rubble away, leaving behind nothing, but the chimney stump and a few tree twigs.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, saw curtains, still attached to window panes and on poles, flapping. Carpets, fridges and an oven left in good will by the Watts were also ripped out.
The woman said: “It was complete and utter devastation.
“Everyone saw them do it but no-one could stop them. We couldn’t ring the council because everyone had gone home for the day. It all happened so quickly.”
Another neighbour added: “There is nothing left but a few twigs. How they did it I don’t know. It is unbelievable.”
Lawrence Brown of Scotts Properties said they were “unaware of the buyer’s intentions”, adding: “Both Scotts and the original owner believed the buyer’s intention was to live in the property. We were as surprised as everyone else to find it has since been demolished.”
Head of development at NELC, Jason Longhurst, said: “We are treating this as a serious incident. We are gathering evidence to establish what has happened and will pursue the appropriate course of action.”
The site backs onto 64-acres of land where local farming family the Hewsons want to build a 400-home Millennium Park development. Plans for this development go on show today at Humberston Country Club.