06 Oct #Harlow: Resident prosecuted after failing to knock down unauthorised building
A resident has been fined £1,600 after Harlow Council took him to court for failing to demolish an outbuilding he has built in his garden.
Troy Bricknell of St John’s Avenue pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 22 September 2016 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued under section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The enforcement notice was issued to Mr. Bricknell for constructing the building without planning permission.
Mr. Bricknell was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay costs of £939.50 and a victim surcharge of £120. He has been given 28 days to pay the fine and costs.
At the hearing the magistrates heard that in June 2010 the Council received a planning application from Mr. Bricknell for a proposed summer house/shower room to be located in the rear garden of his property in St John’s Avenue.
The application was refused by the Council as the development would detract from the open aspect and quiet enjoyment of the garden and that it would harm the look of an established conservation area in Old Harlow.
In March 2013 a Building Notice Completion certificate was issued, which is separate to planning permission, and covers set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.
In February 2014 the Council started to receive complaints that a building had been erected in the garden and was being used as a separate unit of residential accommodation.
Investigations were carried out by the Council and an enforcement notice was issued in May 2014 as the development had no planning permission. The Council found that a single storey building had been erected with facilities expected of a separate residential dwelling.
The enforcement notice required that the building and decking is removed and that the land is restored to its original condition.
In June 2014 Mr. Bricknell lodged an appeal but in July 2015 the Planning Inspector upheld the enforcement notice agreeing that the development is unacceptable.
Between October 2015 and November 2015 further applications to revise the building were submitted by Mr. Bricknell but turned down by the Council. He was warned that he needed to comply with the enforcement notice.
Further visits were carried out by Planning Officers between March and August 2016 and although part of the rear of the building had been removed the building had still not been demolished or removed from the site. The Council took the decision to take Mr. Bricknell to court.
Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “Planning rules are there for everyone to follow and a failure to obtain planning permission doesn’t mean you carry on regardless. This development is out of place and takes up more than 50 per cent of the rear garden. People living in a conservation area take pride in maintaining its special character and this development does more harm than good and does nothing to either preserve or enhance the appearance of the area. There are no public benefits to outweigh the harm this causes.
“We tried to resolve this situation without having to go to court and a prosecution is always a last resort. Not only does this resident have the cost of demolishing his development he now has a fine to pay, which ultimately could have been avoided by him.
“If you are planning on altering your home or building in your garden you should always check with the Council to see whether you need planning permission or building control approval or both before starting any work.”