Dream shattered as result of “disgraceful” behaviour from the Norwegian authorities

An English couple’s dream of starting a new life in Norway has been shattered as a result of a long-running dispute over land ownership, and what has been described as the “disgraceful” behaviour of a national public authority.

In 2006, Paul and Andrea Hodgkinson sold their family home in England in order to buy a 200 acre mountain farm at Fyresdal, in the Telemark region, where they planned to run their own organic Cashmere goat and tourism business including the use of Clydesdale horses with the written approval of the local council.

A few months later they moved to Norway to start setting up their business.   They erected the wooden fence poles necessary to keep the goats and horses in, but subsequently received a letter from the Statens Vegvesen, saying the fence posts were on public owned land and to remove them.  Hundreds of posts have since been removed and smashed up.

Statens Vegvesen Officials say that a stretch of agricultural production land, along both sides of a gravel road (FV 405) which passed through the farm, had been sold again to the department by the previous owner, Mr Kare Syvertsen.

Paul Hodgkinson said: “The illegal sale of this strip of vital land was completed after it had already been sold to us and approved in the Norwegian Land Register.  It was done without our knowledge and it cannot have legal status.”

Legal Documents confirm the land was sold to the Statens Vegvesen after the Hodgkinsons had bought their farm with a loan from a local Norwegian Bank. But the pair have so far failed to get the department to relinquish the land, and are now being threatened with eviction as because of the issue they are not occupying and running the property as the original agreement required.

The couple explained that they went to magistrates and to the government and they all saw that the deeds showed that they owned the land, but that Statens Vegvesen refused to accept this without the Hodgkinsons taking expensive legal action which they cannot afford.

Andrea Hodgkinson said: “Our Norwegian dream has turned into a living nightmare.  We had to return to the UK while we tried everything to get the dispute sorted.”

A year ago, the couple enlisted the support of their Member of the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, who has pursued other avenues to try and help.

She said: “I thought at the time that it was outrageous, and, after twelve months of writing to a variety of Norwegian authorities and individuals, I am appalled that everyone continues to ‘give them the run around’ and refuses to accept that a key Norwegian public authority is in the wrong.”

“Paul & Andrea stand to lose – not just a lot of money – but the chance of an exciting and fulfilling new life which Norway was offering.  I’m sure that most Norwegians, if they knew what a public authority was doing in their name, would find it equally disgraceful.”

 

Notes to editors

  1. A copy of this press release in Norwegian appears below
  2. Attached are photos of the farm, the road and the broken fence posts, and Paul & Andrea
  3. For further information about the case go to www.conservationcrafts.com or call Paul Hodgkinson on +44 7902 924882
  4. To contact Glenis Willmott, call Paddy Casswell on +44 7973 736003

 

Oversettelse fra engelsk – oppdaget til norsk (bokmål)

PRESSEMELDING UTKAST

Drømmen knust som følge av “skammelig” atferd fra den Norske Myndigheter.

Et engelsk pars drøm om å starte et nytt liv i Norge har blitt knust som følge av en langvarig tvist over grunneierskap, og hva som har blitt beskrevet som “skammelig” oppførsel av en nasjonal offentlig myndighet.
I 2006 solgte Paul og Andrea Hodgkinson sitt hjem i England for å kjøpe en 800 dekar stor fjellgard ved Fyresdal i Telemark, hvor de planla å drive med Cashmere geiter og turist virksomhet, inkludert bruk av Clydesdale hester med skriftlig godkjenning av kommunen.
Et par måneder senere flyttet de til Norge for å begynne å starte opp sin virksomhet. De reiste gjerdestolper, nødvendig for å holde geiter og hester innenfor, men fikk senere et brev fra Statens Vegvesen, som sier at gjerdestolpene var på offentlig eid grunn og de ble bedt om å fjerne dem. (Hundrevis av gjerdestolper har siden blitt fjernet og knust av Mesta / Statens Vegvesen)
Statens Vegvesens Tjenestemann sier at en strekning av produktiv grunn, langs begge sider av en grusvei (FV 405) som gikk gjennom gården, hadde blitt solgt igjen til avdelingen, av den forrige eieren. (Kåre Syvertsen)
Paul Hodgkinson sa: “Det ulovlige salget av denne stripen av vital grunn ble gjennomført etter at den allerede hadde blitt solgt til oss, og godkjent i den norske grunnboken. Det ble gjort uten vår kunnskap og det kan ikke ha juridisk status..”
Juridiske dokumenter bekrefter at grunnen ble solgt til Statens Vegvesen etter at Hodgkinsons hadde kjøpt sin gård med et lån fra en lokal norske Bank. Men paret har så langt mislyktes i å få Statens Vegvesen til å frasi seg grunnen, og blir nå truet med utkastelse som på grunn av dette problemet og at de ikke bor og driver eiendommen som den opprinnelige avtalen forutsetter.
Paret forklarte at de gikk til myndighetspersoner og til regjeringen og de alle så at papirene viste at de eide grunnen, men at Statens Vegvesen nektet å godta dette uten Hodgkinsons foretar dyre rettslige tiltak som de ikke har råd til.
Andrea Hodgkinson sa: “Vår norske drøm er blitt til et levende mareritt Vi måtte returnere til England mens vi prøvde alt for å få tvisten ordnet.”
For et år siden sikret paret seg støtte av medlem av Europaparlamentet, Glenis Willmott, som har fulgt andre veier for å prøve å hjelpe.
Hun sa: “Jeg trodde den gangen at det var opprørende, og etter tolv måneder med å skrive til en rekke norske myndigheter og enkeltpersoner, er jeg meget forferdet over at alle fortsetter å sende ballen videre og nekter å akseptere at en sentral norsk offentlig myndighet tar feil. ”
“Paul og Andrea er i ferd med å tape – ikke bare en masse penger – men sjansen for en spennende oppfyllelse av et nytt liv som Norge tilbød.

Jeg er sikker på at de fleste nordmenn, hvis de visste hva en offentlig myndighet har gjort i sitt navn ville finne det like skammelig.

 

(Mer informasjon på www.conservationcrafts.com)

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  1. What an absolute disgrace. I have been corresponding with this lovely couple since Feb 2008. They were hoping to establish a herd of fibre goats as part of their new life and business in Norway. Their dreams & finances have been wrecked by the corrupt and cruel actions of the Norwegian authorities. They deserve full compensation for what they have suffered.

  2. ANGELA ISKOV says:

    Discusting!!!!!!!!! hope this Christmas brings on the good spirit of all involved and the issue is settled asap for Paul and Andrea.

  3. ANGELA ISKOV says:

    Good for you Glennis !!!!!!!!

  4. Steve says:

    Glad to hear you are picking this up. I’ve known Paul and Andrea for years, and all this has ruined their lives over the last five years.

  5. roy josephsen says:

    I feel ashamed on behalf on norwegian authoryties

  6. Want to leave Norway says:

    I think it’s time someone asked UNESCO what’s so good about Norway? Why does UNESCO say it’s the best place in the world to live? For Norwegians, maybe but search the internet for “Norway””migrant workers” and see how life is for foreigners.

    If you become destitute here, the temperatures will kill you.

    Loads of Norwegians live abroad, it’s that good.

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