Landowners fined for not having planning permission for chalets.

Communities / Thu 5th Feb 2015 at 02:13pm

SkinsTWO landowners have been ordered to pay over £70,000 for not having planning permission to install two chalets on private land at Skins Farm, Roydon in Harlow.

In March 2012 David Ray Development Ltd and Henry Simmons installed two chalets on plots 13 and 14/15 Skins Farm which is within the borders of Harlow. The chalets did not benefit from planning permission and were let out as residential accommodation. Harlow Council served planning enforcement notices in April 2012 requiring the clearance of the land and cessation of the use. Following a planning appeal and numerous requests for the land to be cleared, Harlow Council instigated court proceedings against the owners of the plots. The initial case was heard at the Colchester Magistrates Court last August 2014.

Both defendants pleaded guilty and prior to sentencing Harlow Council made an application against the Proceeds of Crime Act, which meant the matter was referred to the Crown Court for a confiscation order to be made. Following a financial investigation, Judge Christopher Ball QC made a Confiscation Order on Monday 2 February 2015 for a sum of £46,717, he proceed then to sentence the defendants for the original offence, being the failure to comply with the enforcement notices. Both defendants were given further fines of £10,000 each, alongside a total costs award to Harlow Council of £5,000.

Judge Ball commended Harlow Council’s Planning Team in dealing with such clear breaches of planning law in a robust manner and considered the offence to be a money making exercise on behalf of the defendants.

In total the defendants are ordered to pay £71,717 for their failure to comply with Planning legislation, failure to do so within six months comes with a default prison sentence of 18 months.

Councillor Tony Durcan, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “If planning laws are breached then we will take the appropriate action and respond to the concerns of local residents who have suffered from much upset and nuisance from this particular area of land.

This is the first time Harlow Council has used the Proceeds of Crime Act in respect of planning matters, but it will not hesitate to use it again to address blatant breaches of planning legislation and to preserve the character and integrity of the town as a whole. Issues like this can take time but we were determined to see it through. This is about ensuring that everyone plays by the planning rules.”

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