A company which flouted a council enforcement notice, requiring it to demolish an ‘ugly and imposing’ extension to a delicatessen after it was built without planning permission, has paid a heavy price for its ‘obdurate disobedience’.
The company had been granted permission for a single-storey extension in 2002. However, it erected a two-storey building which went well beyond that which had been permitted. The enforcement notice required it to remove the entire structure and an appeal to a Government planning inspector failed. However, a site visit in 2011 revealed that no attempt had been made to remove the structure.
Having been found guilty of breaching the enforcement notice, the company was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £13,000 towards the costs of the prosecution. It was also found to have benefited from the offence and was hit with a bill for more than £10,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal reduced the fine to £25,000. In upholding the company’s appeal, the Court ruled, “We are persuaded that a fine of £45,000 in this case was out of line with previous decisions. This was not a case involving irreparable destruction but rather a case of obdurate disobedience over many years, with identifiable financial gain.”