Landowner ordered to pay more than £5,000 for flouting planning laws
A landowner who has been using a field at the back of his home to store up to 130 vehicles without planning permission has been ordered by a court to pay out more than £5,000.
Alan Hodson, of Willow Tree Farm, Eagle Road, Spalford,near Newark, was prosecuted at Nottingham Magistrates for an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Magistrates heard that Mr Hodson had permission to store up to 25 cars at the site and had applied for an increase in that number to 100 but this had been refused by planners at Newark and Sherwood District Council subsequently at appeal.
Mr Hodson, who pleaded not guilty at the hearing on Wednesday, August 7 but was found guilty after a trial, was fined £2,500 – the maximum that can be imposed on this type of offence - and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and legal costs in full of £2,834 to be payable within 28 days.
The court was told that Mr Hodson had applied for planning permission to increase the volume of vehicles allowed to be kept on site in June 2017 but that was refused and a subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was dismissed in June 2018.
Magistrates heard he had failed to comply with the terms of a breach of condition notice served in September 2017 and after further being advised to comply with the notice, a deadline of September 17, 2018 was set to ensure that no more than 25 vehicles were on the site.
When council officers visited the farm on that date they counted 137 vehicles, in breach of the terms of planning permission. The court was further told that Mr Hodson had emailed the council on November 5 to give assurances that there were no more than 25 cars on site but when officers visited again on November 19, the number was 125.
Council planning committee chairman Councillor Roger Blaney said: “Planning laws are set out to ensure that development on any land is appropriate and this site is wholly unsuitable for the amount of cars which have been stored there. We cannot allow such large scale commercial activity in such a countryside location.
“The terms of planning consent were very clear in this case and there was a breach of the conditions set out and this cannot be tolerated. We have engaged with the defendant on numerous occasions and he has been given ample opportunity to comply. However, we were left with no other option than to take it through the courts. We will be looking at further measures to ensure that the requirements of the breach of condition notice are met.”