Failure to comply with planning enforcement order leads to £24,000 fine

Date: 28/02/2017

A Rhydyclafdy man has been handed a £24,000 fine after pleading guilty to failing to comply with planning enforcement orders preventing the use of a building and for the demolition of a building which didn’t have the correct planning permission.

District Judge Gwyn Jones, sitting at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on 13 February, heard that Arwel Bryn Parry of Hendre Wen continued to use a building at Hendre Wen for commercial purposes for three years, contravening the planning enforcement order.

Planning permission for an agricultural shed had been granted but it was clear that the building had been erected for commercial purposes. It was proven that the purpose of the structure was as a garage - this without the proper planning consent. Gwynedd Council issued an enforcement order to prevent further use of the building and to demolish the building because of the failure to comply with planning regulations.  

Retrospective planning applications for a garage were submitted to the Council in the past, but were turned down on two occasions because of the harm caused to visual amenities and lack of special locational need. At the time, Mr Parry appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the Council’s planning decision and against the enforcement order but two independent Inspectors also came to the conclusion that the structure had been built with the intention of using it as a commercial garage, and the appeals were rejected.

The court heard that the garage business which was being run from the building at Hendre Wen had been successful, turning over a profit of more than £42,000 during the 2015/16 financial year and the judge accepted that the business was being run at a financial advantage.

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “This was a very serious case. Over three years, several attempts were made by the Council to secure compliance with the enforcement order.

“Mr Parry was granted permission to build an agricultural shed, but it became clear that it was being used for alternative commercial purposes. Despite several attempts by the Council, the owner refused to comply with the enforcement orders to stop its use and to have the building demolished, which meant that the Council had no choice in the end but to take legal action.

“It is only right for us to expect businesses to comply with planning regulations and that no business should gain financially by failing to follow the rules. This ruling shows that regulations are relevant to all companies and the level of fine charged sends out a clear message to anyone who intentionally breaks planning laws.”

Arwel Bryn Parry was ordered to pay a fine of £24,000 plus costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Gwynedd Council understands that Arwel Bryn Parry intends to appeal against the level of fine. This hearing will take place at the Crown Court of 17 March 2017.