Rules are not there to be broken!

Various householder planning breaches have hit the headlines over the years.  Perhaps the most high-profile was Farmer Fidler’s unauthorised mock Tudor castle in Surrey.  The castle was hidden behind hay bales for four years (the period during which enforcement action was thought to need to be taken).  The Court of Appeal held that Mr Farmer’s conduct was a case of deception, and therefore the argument that the planning authority should have acted within the four years could not be made.  The castle is no longer there, although it stood for around ten years either in hiding, during court proceedings or during battles against enforcement notices and claims of protected species. 

Not on the same scale as the hidden castle, and much less sensational, two householders faced problems in recent months when they disregarded the rules.  It is a useful reminder that stretched planning authorities will take the trouble to take enforcement proceedings when expedient and that breaking the rules caries real risk. 

Mr Singh did seek planning permission from Walsall Council, and permission for an extension to a 1960s semi-detached home was granted.  However, rather than build the permitted scheme, the original house was bulldozed and a new, larger home was constructed in its place.  An application for retrospective planning permission was submitted then withdrawn and a fresh application, requiring further information prior to validation, has been submitted.  However, in the meantime the planning committee resolved to take enforcement action to demolish the property.

A homeowner, Mr Page, frustrated by a 65-year-old pine tree thwarting prospects of planning permission took steps to poison it.  The tree was protected by a tree preservation order, as many trees in this country are and similar protections apply to trees within conservation areas.   The matter ended before Salisbury Crown Court after the tree officers discovered that the pine tree had withered and died after being poisoned.  Mr Page was fined £50,000, equating to the uplift in value of his home due to the loss of the tree, plus £5,000 for loss to the public and £25,000 in costs.

Disregarding the rules can be a costly business!

Posted on 5 May, 2022 by Ortolan

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