Council defends decision on barn
THE borough council has defended its decision to take enforcement action against a man who converted a barn into a home without planning permission.
And the council explained why the same approach had not been taken with developers that breached conditions.
Last month the Echo reported that William De Ferrers was ordered to pay a £28,000 fine following a prosecution by Charnwood Borough Council.
He pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to failing to comply with an enforcement notice which ordered him to stop using a barn in Narrow Lane, Wymeswold, as a home.
The court heard that permission was granted for a barn in 2006 but a condition stated it could only be used in for livery and horse breeding.
In 2015 De Ferrers was served an enforcement notice after it came to the council’s attention that it was being used as a home. He appealed the notice but it was rejected in 2016.
After the hearing, a council spokesperson said: “Planning regulations are there to make sure the local character and environment are protected. If those regulations are broken then we will take enforcement action, including prosecution, if they are not complied with.”
The Echo has since been asked why the council did not take enforcement action when Persimmon Homes, the developer building on land off Hathern Road, Shepshed, breached planning permission by removing hedging earlier this year.
And why action was not taken against Jelson Homes after work started at Melton Road, Barrowupon-Soar, before relevant planning conditions had been discharged.
A council spokesperson said: “We will always investigate suspected breaches of planning permission and we will always take appropriate action.
“However, this will not always be enforcement action. It’s not a case of not being hard enough on developers, action is dependent on the nature of the breach, the harm being caused and negotiations taking place.
“Planning enforcement is at the discretion of the council. Government guidance and the National Planning Policy Framework state that local planning authorities should take action ‘where appropriate’. The guidance also encourages negotiation.
“If negotiations fail we will weigh up all of the factors of the case, including public interest. This means that we consider what the public would want us to do in the situation.
“In the cases mentioned, we negotiated with the developers and were able to resolve the breach in planning permission, so enforcement action wasn’t required.
“In the case of the barn conversion, the developer failed to engage in negotiations, we weighed up the factors of the case and decided that enforcement action was necessary.”
The barn in Narrow Lane, Wymeswold.