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Couple fined for planning breach

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

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A £10,000 fine has been issued to an Alton couple who refused to remove a log cabin they had built without permission.

Robert and Jacqueline Shenton of Wood Farm, Red Road, Alton appeared before Stafford Magistrates on Wednesday last week; pleading guilty to failing to comply with an enforcement notice served by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to secure the removal of a single storey timber building used as a dwelling on land at Wood Farm.

They were each fined £5,000 and told to pay court costs of £1,686 between them as well as a £15 victim surcharge.

They have until January 31 2013 to remove the three bedroom log cabin from their land.

The court heard that the council issued an enforcement notice on October 4 2010, which was upheld at appeal, to order the removal of the building erected without planning permission for the defendants’ use while they re-built a four bed dwelling on the site.

The Shenton’s then made several applications to permit the retention of the timber building, first as tourist accommodation and then, on compassionate grounds, as a temporary home for Mrs Shenton’s elderly parents.

Both applications to retain the building were refused and the defendants were warned of intended prosecution if they failed to remove it.

Counsel for the prosecution, Christopher Draycott, described the breach of planning permission as ‘prolonged, deliberate and cynical’.

Councillor Edwin Wain, portfolio holder for planning, said: “The building in dispute is an additional dwelling house which is entirely separate to the one approved under an earlier planning application.

“As a planning authority we have a duty to restrict such development to protect the countryside from residential encroachment.

“This successful prosecution sends out a strong message that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council won’t stand idly by while people flout planning laws.”

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