A couple who failed to comply with a planning enforcement notice were successfully prosecuted, for a second time, at Aldershot Magistrates' Court on 28 November 2018.
Mr and Mrs Shoraka, joint owners of 206 Albert Drive, Sheerwater, had built a first floor front, side and rear extension and a rear balcony on their property without planning permission. Following the refusal of a retrospective planning application, a planning enforcement notice was issued on 21 March 2014 requiring the removal of the unauthorised extension and balcony.
The couple had previously been convicted on 25 May 2017 at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court for failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice and at the time were fined a combined total of £700 plus ordered to pay council costs in the sum of £2,612 and a victim surcharge of £90.
Prior to being summonsed to court for a second time, only the rear balcony had been removed in compliance with the planning enforcement notice. The unauthorised first floor front, side and rear extension was finally demolished just days before the trial date. On 28 November 2018 the judge returned a guilty verdict and the owners were each fined £400 and ordered to pay a contribution towards the council’s costs of £750 and a £40 victim surcharge, a total of £2,380.
Cllr Ashley Bowes, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning Services, said: “It is astounding that, despite having ample time and opportunity to comply with the planning enforcement notice and with the memory of a previous conviction for the same offence, this couple still opted to fail to comply with the enforcement notice, despite the risk of a second prosecution.
“I hope that this second prosecution sends a clear message that breaches of planning will not be tolerated and legal action will be taken wherever necessary to prevent unauthorised developments taking place across the Borough.
“I would strongly urge residents who wish to develop on their land to fully research planning regulations first, to make sure that whatever they build benefits from all the necessary consents. The council is here to support and advise residents every step of the way. Failure to do so is likely to cause unnecessary expense and hassle that is far in excess of just doing the job properly in the first place.”
If you are thinking of building on your land and wish to find out about applying for planning permission, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/planning