City Council gets tough on Planning Enforcement

Winchester City Council has successfully prosecuted a farmer in Durley for not complying with a Planning Enforcement Notice. Fareham Magistrates Court handed-out a £5000 fine to Mr Ben Boyse of Snakemoor Farm, Durley and ordered him to pay £1000 in costs.

Mr Boyse had failed to act on an Enforcement Notice from the City Council which required the demolition of a large two storey building which he had erected without planning permission. Mr Boyse had intended to use the building for holiday lets, but the size and position of the building, close to the boundary with a neighbouring property, was considered to be unacceptable by City Council planners.

An appeal against the Enforcement Notice was dismissed, with a Government appointed Inspector, Sean Slack, concluding that the size, bulk and design of the new two storey building was out of character with other buildings on the holding, and that its positioning had resulted in a serious loss of amenity to residents of the adjacent farmhouse.

A spokesman for the City Council said: "We are very pleased with the outcome of the court case and very satisfied with the large fine awarded, which reflects the seriousness of the breach of planning control. This has been a protracted case and Mr Boyse has been given plenty of opportunities to resolve this matter."

Cllr Keith Wood, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, explained that the City Council will not hesitate to take aggressive action over any breaches of planning rules. He said: "This very satisfactory outcome shows a new willingness by the City Council to take extremely tough action against those who ignore our planning enforcement rules. Our policy is to continue this firm stance against anyone who disregards their planning obligations."

Mr Boyse’s legal advisors have indicated that they may appeal against the Magistrates decision and are currently in discussions with the Council over whether the building could be reduced in size to bring it into line with the Council’s policies.