Coun­cil de­fends de­ci­sion on barn

Loughborough Echo - - NEWS - By Megan Cox megan.cox@trin­i­tymir­

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.

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