A man who converted a barn into a home without planning permission has been ordered to pay £38,344 in fines and costs following a prosecution by Charnwood Borough Council.
William De Ferrers pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an enforcement notice contrary to the Town and County Planning Act 1990 which ordered him to stop using the building in Narrow Lane, Wymeswold as a home.
Leicester Crown Court was told planning permission was granted for a barn in 2006 but a condition stated it could only be used in connection with livery and horse breeding as outlined in an earlier permission for the site.
However, in 2015 it came to the Council’s attention that the barn was occupied as a home.
Officers served an enforcement notice on De Ferrers on June 30, 2015. The notice required him to stop using the building as a home and remove the domestic features and fittings including partition walls, bathroom fittings, a washing machine, a tumble dryer, patio doors and various windows.
He appealed the notice but that was rejected by a planning inspector in September 2016.
The court was told De Ferrers had attempted to engage in the planning process and that the home was also used by his elderly father who would otherwise be destitute.
However, Judge Philip Head stated that De Ferrers ignored the planning system once it produced an answer he disliked and the court noted the defendant’s father could not be completely destitute as the statement of means recorded he paid for the upkeep of a car and had some connection with the acquisition of the land.
Judge Head told De Ferrers: “You have exploited the system and ignored it when it suits you.”
The court ordered De Ferrers to pay a £28,000 fine, prosecution costs of £10,174 and a £170 victim surcharge, totalling £38,344. He was ordered to pay the amount within six months or face 14 months in prison. De Ferrers still has to comply with the enforcement notice.
After the hearing, a spokesman for the borough council 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.”