September 20, 2013

Beware the wrath of the planning enforcement officer

After a four-year battle with Doncaster Council Nigel Smith, 57, has been convicted of a “blatant” failure to comply with a Court Order to clear an unauthorised caravan, a large portable office, sheds, hen coops and dog kennels from land adjoining his farm in Moss, South Yorkshire. In passing a 9-month jail sentence Mr Justice Sweeney commented that there had been a “long history of flagrant breaches of planning law” and concluded that any sentence other than imprisonment would “undermine the authority of the law”.

It seems that Mr Smith did not impress Mr Justice Sweeney in giving evidence indicated by further comments that Mr Smith was a “wily operator” who chose to pursue avenues that “suit him rather than respect the law”.

I won’t bore you with the facts but this is quite an extreme case but it does show that, eventually, those that breach planning laws can, and are, held to account.

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