Landowner could be fined £20,000

By Connie Osborne Friday 21 February 2014 Updated: 21/02 16:17

A FECKENHAM landowner could be fined up to £20,000 after illegally living in a caravan and tents.

Redditch Borough councillors unanimously agreed to prosecute the person, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a planning meeting last Wednesday (February 12) following numerous attempts by officers to stop them from using the field for residential use.

Since the summer of 2012, the land at the Saltway which is designated for agricultural use, has had a touring caravan, tents and other similar camping equipment stored at the site, despite the owner not having permission from the council to do so.

An application for a temporary log cabin was refused in September 2012, and an Enforcement Notice was issued to the owner on February 22 last year, for the removal of the caravan and tents.

The notice expired and the owner then put in another planning application for a temporary caravan but it was also refused after officers felt there was no a need to be on the site 24 hours a day.

The applicant then lodged an appeal, but it was withdrawn the day before the application hearing.

Throughout the two years, officers had also been in contact with neighbours regarding the appearance of the site and the inappropriate residential use.

A spokesman from Redditch Borough Council said it was a criminal offence to fail to comply with an Enforcement Notice.

“The maximum penalty on summary conviction in the magistrates court is a fine of up to £20,000, or on indictment to a higher court, to an unlimited fine,” he said.

“Members of the planning committee have delegated the authority to instigate legal proceedings to secure compliance with the enforcement notice, if necessary, and that process is underway.”

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