Almondsbury resident fined over enforcement notice
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Colin Williams of Over Lane in Almondsbury was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of a further £500 when he appeared before Bristol Crown Court on Friday 21 March.
Mr Williams changed his original not guilty plea to guilty when the matter was admitted for trial at Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to occupying a mobile home for residential purposes and failing to remove the mobile home from the land in breach of an enforcement notice served on 6 July 2012.
After an appeal was lodged against the notice, Mr Williams was given 12 months to remove two residential caravans from the land. He had failed to achieve this by the end of the compliance period on 30 November 2013 and South Gloucestershire Council commenced prosecution action. The council demonstrated that Mr Williams had made no attempt to find alternative accommodation in the 12 month period and had only sought any alteration in the use of the land after prosecution proceedings had been commenced.
The site is agricultural land in the green belt and the council considered the siting of the caravans in this location to be detrimental to the visual amenity and the openness of the green belt which failed to respect the character of the area.
On 9 January 2014 Mr Williams submitted a new planning application for the retention of one mobile home as an agricultural worker’s dwelling for the purposes of breeding Alpacas. This application is currently being considered by planning officers.
Cllr Claire Young, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Planning regulations and enforcement notices are put in place to help protect the local environment and we take their breach very seriously. The council’s planning enforcement team will take action when there are breaches to planning rules by people building, changing or demolishing structures without permission or by using sites for unauthorised purposes.”
This was the second Almondsbury site to reach the courts last week after Gayla Symon was convicted on 19 March of unauthorised works to an eighteenth century Grade II listed building also off Over Lane in Almondsbury. Mrs Symon pleaded guilty at Yate Magistrates’ Court to the unauthorised works to the house in Knole Park. The works included the removal of windows, re-pointing and re-plastering of walls with inappropriate materials and the removal of a historic ceiling and claygate fireplace.
Mrs Symon cited poor advice from her professional representatives in mitigation in court and the council acknowledged that she had cooperated fully with their investigation and had commenced with the works and applications to restore the property appropriately. She was convicted but given an absolute discharge with the court recognising the substantial costs that will be required to remedy the harm. Works to restore the property are ongoing and subject to applications.
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