Baffled by objections

PUBLISHED: 13:28 20 April 2007 | UPDATED: 22:44 28 May 2010

A FENLAND businessman says he was staggered to learn this week, from the Cambs Times, that he risks prosecution. John Anker, who runs a John Deere dealership at Coates, said our phone call to tell him councillors were being asked to approve enforcement

A FENLAND businessman says he was "staggered" to learn this week, from the Cambs Times, that he risks prosecution.

John Anker, who runs a John Deere dealership at Coates, said our phone call to tell him councillors were being asked to approve enforcement action against him was the first he knew of it.

"Quite honestly, I am staggered," he said. "I have heard nothing, nor has anything been served on me. If they had wanted to contact me, I am easy to get hold of."

Mr Anker was responding to a report to next Wednesday's meetng of Fenland District Council's planning committee, which alleges he has begun work on building a home without planning permission.

Steve Robshaw, a planning enforcement officer, also alleges Mr Anker has demolished a property at 102 Eldernell Lane, Coates, without permission.

Mr Anker insists he has done nothing wrong since "we are simply re-furbishing an old house, which was there, and which was habitable".

However, Mr Robshaw, says in his report to councillors that work on the site is "in progress without the benefit of any form of planning permission".

Mr Robshaw says a temporary stop notice was authorised on the site by Tim Mills, the council's head of housing and development, on Tuesday "and is currently in force on the site". Mr Anker says he knows nothing of it.

Mr Robshaw says officers of the council "are of the opinion that prosecution proceedings and default action will be appropriate should compliance with any notices authorised not be forthcoming".

However, Mr Anker says he has received "zero correspondence" about the site and was in touch with council officers as the Cambs Times went to press.

Three years ago Mr Anker applied to build a four-bedroom house on the site, involving demolition of the existing home, but later cancelled the application.

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