Court for plans that break law

FROM Leverington to Ramsey Forty Foot, and from March to Whittlesey, Fenland planners sent out their clearest message yet this week: Break the law and we ll see you in court. The district council s planning committee considered five breaches of planning

FROM Leverington to Ramsey Forty Foot, and from March to Whittlesey, Fenland planners sent out their clearest message yet this week: Break the law and we'll see you in court.

The district council's planning committee considered five breaches of planning conditions on Wednesday and in each case they heard of the frustrations endured by enforcement officers.

Recommendations in all cases were to prosecute the offender using the considerable powers enjoyed by the council.

In all five instances the council's planning enforcement officer Alan Millard said his job was to advise the committee of "the current situation and to determine an appropriate course of action."

At Doddington, councillors heard that builders working on land south west of 10 Newgate Street had failed to comply with conditions attached to the planning consent.

Mr Millard said one of his team had visited the site in October and noted that concrete was being poured, creating foundation footings. "The officer advised the persons on site to cease work," he said.

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With no apparent intention noted of the owner/occupier intending to comply with planning conditions, Mr Millard concluded that a legally enforceable 'stop' notice was needed.

At Windy Nook, Mill Lane, Leverington, Mr Millard said the condition of the land and property was "adversely affecting the open countryside and the character and amenity of neighbouring properties".

Site visits had shown the bungalow had become home to a site for storing scrap materials "and other items not associated with the residential use of the premises".

Owners of 58-60 Victory Avenue, Whittlesey, are alleged to have built four flats without complying with two conditions, and that a revised site layout "was not acceptable".

Mr Millard said the scheme required the widening of Ladysmith Avenue prior to the flats being built.

"This has not occurred," he said, adding that the existing car parking and drive through area was unsuitable.

At High Trees, Forty Foot Bank, Ramsey Forty Foot, workshops have been used to kennel Alsatians and the dog breeding business has expanded unlawfully.

Officers had been denied access to the site and legal action was now necessary "as it would appear that the owner/occupier has no intention of complying with the council's request to clear the land and cease the unauthorised use".

Fenland wants no more than six dogs kept on site at any one time.

And finally in March, the owner of an ash tree at 136 Russell Avenue, could end up in court for carrying out "unauthorised works" to the tree.

The tree in question is protected by a preservation order but no application to carry out works had been received.

"In forming a reasoned opinion as to whether to pursue a breach of control, regard must be had to the issues of expediency, public interest, harm and nature of the breach," said Mr Millard.

The order on the tree was put there for a reason and in the absence of evidence to prove the tree is either dead, dying or in a dangerous state "it is concluded that the commencement of prosecution proceedings should be seen as an appropriate course of action".

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