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A DESPERATE couple have mounted a last-ditch attempt to stay in their home in a former RAF camp.

Eric and Janette Owen are appealing against refusal of planning permission from New Forest District Council in a bid to continue living at a property in Merryfield Park, the former RAF Sopley Camp off Derritt Lane near Bransgore.

The couple sank £58,000 of their life savings into the purchase of the concrete hut, one of 27 which had been refurbished, and spent another £4,000 making it a home about four years ago.

At the time they were warned by a council planning officer: “It’s buyer beware”.

But they were desperate to have an affordable home of their own and went ahead. That led to them both being fined £750 plus costs last spring for breaching a council enforcement order by continuing to live there. They are still paying off the fine by instalments.

They followed up with a planning application asking the council for residential use of the building.

That was refused on the grounds their proposal would “result in the creation of a dwelling in the green belt and Sopley Camp area where such development is not permitted”, which led to their appeal.

Mr Owen, 75, said: “I don’t think we will get it. We’ll just wait and see and keep taking it on the chin like a punchbag.

“If anyone came along with any kind of offer we’d be gone.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed and hope that we get temporary permission.”