Upper Beeding couple with baby face homelessness after eviction decision

Peter Taylor, Esther Nihot and seven month old Elijah
Peter Taylor, Esther Nihot and seven month old Elijah

A couple with a seven-month-old baby are facing homelessness after the new owners of the land they live on, by the Old Shoreham Cement Works, have decided to evict them.

Pete Taylor, 54, has leased a piece of land at the site, between Steyning Road and the River Adur in Upper Beeding, for the last 17 years to use as a vehicle repair workshop.

Workers at the site

Workers at the site

For the last 12 years, he has also been living on the site and now shares his static home with his partner Esther Nihot, 41, and his seven-month-old son Elijah.

But after Dudman Group of Companies, a construction firm based in Southwick, took over ownership of the land from Hargreaves Property Holdings, Mr Taylor said he was served a notice to clear his belongings from the land and leave.

“As far as Dudman’s are concerned, we are trespassing,” he said.

“I disagree. As far as I’m concerned, I have a lease.”

Bulldozers appeared on the site on Thursday (August 31) and began to clear vehicles from the area.

But Mr Taylor’s home, with his possessions inside, remains on the land and he said he fears it may be demolished.

Mr Taylor, who describes himself as a ‘health advocate’ and carries out detox treatments at festivals with a sauna he keeps on the site, said his lease does not end until March 2018.

The couple, who are currently staying with a friend, said the situation had left them ‘emotionally and physically wrecked’.

Had the situation been handled differently by Dudman, Mr Taylor claims he would not have made a fuss about his eviction.

He said: “I’m happy to embrace it and happy to move on.

“I don’t need to dig my heels in.”

Esther, who has lived on the site for a year and a half, said: “It’s been really stressful for many months.

“Many times I couldn’t sleep at night.

“I feel we are being threatened with homelessness.

“It makes me emotional.”

She said of Pete’s home: “It’s his working space, where he has his hobbies.

“It’s his passion, and it’s being destroyed in front of his eyes.”

Dudmans told the Herald there was no one available to comment on the issue.