Businessman must pay for council’s ‘hit squad’ which removed illegal smoking terrace

CHATTERIS restaurateur and night club boss Viv Salisbury will be forced to pay for the demolition by a council’s enforcement team of a roof terrace smoking area.

Fenland District Council sent in their ‘hit team’ to remove a decked roof terrace that had been built without planning permission.

“Officers oversaw the removal of the terrace at the Tandoori Palace and VK’s nightclub,” said a council spokesman.

The council says demolition brings to an end “a long-running breach of planning law” at the Market Hill site, plumb in the middle of the town’s conservation area.

Councillor Jan French, the council’s portfolio holder for enforcement, said: “This case should serve as a clear warning that we will not tolerate anyone’s wilful and repeated refusal to comply with planning regulations.

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“We’re here to help people and we’ll always seek to resolve any problems through reasonable discussion and negotiation.

“But this shows that we will take firm action against those who go ahead with developments without the required permissions.”

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Mr Salisbury claimed the terrace could not be seen from the front elevation of Market Hill and the materials used “is generally timber which is in keeping with conservation areas”.

Council planners refused permission for the terrace last year-0 a decision supported by a Government appointed inspector following an appeal.

Mel Middleton, the inspector, said the “extensive area” set aside for smoking would encourage people to linger on the roof during summer evenings.

“This is likely to generate noise, which would cause additional harmful disturbance to the nearby residents,” she said.

The inspector described the wooden fence as “alien and uncharacteristic in this conservation area.”

The inspector added that Mr Salisbury had disputed whether the smoking area needed planning consent in the first place but he said that since Mr Salisbury had freely made the application which was then refused, he had to assume he knew that it did

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