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Homeowner’s Fine for Breaching Planning Laws Justified

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

A homeowner who was fined £960 after he failed to comply with a local authority enforcement notice requiring him to demolish an unauthorised extension to his property has lost an appeal against his conviction and financial penalty. The Court of Appeal ruled that he had no arguable grounds for challenging the jury’s verdict and had also been fortunate not to be ordered to pay substantial legal costs.

In May 2007, the man had been granted planning permission by Kirklees Borough Council for a two-storey extension to the rear of his home. This was required to cater for the needs of his disabled and elderly mother. In January 2011, he was served with an enforcement notice requiring him to demolish an additional extension that protruded three metres beyond the authorised development.

He was fined after a jury found him guilty of failing to comply with the notice. The Court of Appeal ruled that he had ‘no valid ground of appeal’ against the conviction and that the £960 fine was well within the appropriate range. He had been ‘clearly fortunate’ that he was not also ordered to pay the £14,000 in legal costs incurred in civil and criminal proceedings by the local authority.

A series of recent cases shows the rigidity with which planning law is often enforced. For advice on any planning law matter, contact us.

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