When a couple converted their garage into residential accommodation in breach of a condition imposed under a planning permission they may not have anticipated being convicted of a criminal offence and being fined over £2,000.
The development took place within the District of Blaby and the council's officers made various attempts to engage with the owners to remedy the breach before they decided to proceed with the issue of a Breach of Condition Notice. These notices cannot be appealed albeit there are some minimal defenses available. When the owners continued to fail to remedy the breach, going so far as to attempt to cover up the breach by placing a fake garage door in front of the conversion, the Council took the decision to prosecute for failure to comply with the notice. This resulted in a fine and an order to pay the Council's legal costs. Under the provisions if the owners continue to fail to comply with the condition then they could be re-prosecuted for the continuing breach and incur additional fines.
This case highlights that there is some bite to the enforcement provisions and those who do not take compliance with planning conditions seriously can end up at the wrong end of a prosecution resulting in fines and perhaps more importantly a criminal record.
The moral of the story? Take the system seriously, engage with enforcement officers and take legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity if you are faced with any kind of enforcement action.
To find out more or discuss your individual requirements in further detail, including specific advice regarding your planning application or development proposals contact Nikki Fonseka, Head of Planning by calling 01603 974860 or email NFonseka@clapham-collinge.co.uk
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