The village of Dedham is considered one of the most desirable in South-East England. A four bedroom home with garden sells for £750,000 ($1.2m). It lies in the heart of Dedham Vale, an area designated as being of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and immortalised in paintings by John Constable RA, one of Britain’s best known artists.
When Asa and Gwen Pryke ran a successful business from home there, they were accepted as outstanding members of the local community. But since their business closed due to the financial crash they have become outcasts.
The couple were forced to sell up after their bank refused them a loan to finance a large order, so they decided to move themselves and their school-age children into a trio of caravans in a field owned by Gwen’s family. Part of the reason for the high property values in the area is the wealth of local schools with first rate academic records.
Neither their neighbours nor the local council were the least bit interested in their plight, and they were quickly told to move on as if they were squatters or travellers instead of locals who were down on their luck.
“We have attempted to deal with our own problems without recourse to the tax-payer,” said Asa in an interview with this web site. “We are a hard working, normal and loving family. Despite the fact that we have few material possessions we have been exceptionally happy and our children have done well educationally. We feel we are better and stronger people for our experiences, some of which have been very harsh. We now face more challenges in the near future.
The family are a few days away from homelessness, and their entire income is now less than when they first applied for legal aid — approximately £1500.00 per month. Ironically Gwen’s family used to live in that same field – four generations ago.
In Court the Council claimed that they could rent a three bedroom house in the area for £450.00 per month. This was accepted by the Judge who said that this being the case they should be in rental as they could afford this. “In fact you can only rent a single room in Colchester for this money (£105.00 per week)” said Pryke, “and the Court was completely misinformed and out of touch to accept this.
“One can only speculate that the Barrister’s journey from his chambers to his favourite lunching spot and judging from his appearance he has a long one every day, does not take him past the numerous estate agents in Colchester. Either that or he deliberately misinformed the Court.”
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