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Man fined £2,000 for ignoring stables stop notice

A WOLVEY man has been fined £2,000 after breaching a stop notice served by Rugby Borough Council on a farm development.

John Mac secured planning permission in April 2014 for the development of a stable block, tack and feed rooms, and a manège on land at Spinney Farm, Main Street, Withybrook.

But in February 2015 the council's planning enforcement team received a tip-off from a member of the public the stables were not being built in accordance with the planning permission.

The following day a planning officer visited the farm and discovered the development was in breach of planning permission, and the officer spoke to Mr Mac's planning agent to inform him of the breach.

In June a planning enforcement officer visited the site and confirmed the ground dimensions of the building exceeded those in the planning permission by one metre to all sides, while the building was one-and-a-half metres higher than permitted.

On 7 July an enforcement notice was served on Mr Mac, stating the stable block had to be built in accordance with the planning permission or be demolished.

A stop notice was also served, prohibiting building work on the site.

When the stop notice was served the roof of the stable block had a waterproof membrane but no tiles.

But when a planning enforcement officer returned to the site in October, a workman was fixing tiles to the roof.  When challenged, the workman said he was a sub-contractor working for Debright Trading Limited.

When the officer contacted the company, it confirmed Mr Mac had instructed the firm to carry out the work, breaching the stop notice.

At Nuneaton's Warwickshire Justice Centre on Tuesday 6 January, Mr Mac, of Hinckley Road, Wolvey, pleaded guilty to breaching a stop notice.

In mitigation, the court heard Mr Mac lacked experience in planning issues and there was a lack of communication between his contractor and sub-contractors.

Mr Mac, who has lodged an appeal against the enforcement notice, added he was unaware the development was being built in breach of the planning permission.

Magistrates fined him £2,000 and he was ordered to pay £316 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for development, said: "We investigate all suspected breaches of planning permission and stop notices help protect the integrity of the planning process.

"We understand navigating the planning process can be complicated, so our planning team offers free advice to all prospective applicants.

"By talking to us first, you can save time and avoid making costly mistakes."

To speak with the council's planning team, or to report suspected breaches of planning permission, call (01788) 533759 or email rbc.planning@rugby.gov.uk

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