A nursery proprietor has been fined £31,000 for breaking planning enforcement stopping him importing waste on land next door.
Complaints from neighbouring residents started in November 2015. When enforcement officers visited the nursery proprietor failed to produce any authorisation allowing him to import and process waste. So enforcement action was taken.
Meanwhile complaints mounted to more than 100 and on Saturday 21st January 2017 the nursery proprietor was arrested after he failed to appear at three previous court hearings.
At court on Monday 23rd January 2017 the nursery proprietor pleaded guilty and magistrates adjourned, ordering him to produce business accounts, income evidence and details of his assets.
The nursery proprietor had previously admitted breaching two planning notices served in March 2016 ordering him to stop importing waste on to land he rents next door to his nursery business in Aston Clinton Road and to remove it.
The court heard that even after the enforcement notices were issued the nursery proprietor continued to import a mixture of household, garden and building waste on to the site and burn it on big bonfires.
Sentence was finally passed on Wednesday 15th March 2017 when magistrates handed the nursery proprietor a £38,185 bill (including £6,885 costs and a £300 victim surcharge) which he must pay at £2,000 a month.
It is believed to be the highest financial penalty imposed for a Buckinghamshire County Council planning enforcement breach.
The landmark court sentence followed more than a year’s investigation and evidence gathering by Buckinghamshire County Council enforcement officers Olivia Stapleford and Ian Prosser.
Warren Whyte, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, said he believed the fine was the highest for any enforcement contravention in the County Council’s 128-year history.
‘Let this act as a warning to those contravening planning control that it carries very stiff penalties, and that we will rigorously investigate flagrant breaches of the law,‘ said Warren. ‘[the nursery proprietors] actions have resulted in untold misery for neighbouring residents and I applaud the determination of our enforcement team to prosecute this case, which is what our residents would expect of us.‘