Property boss accused of making ‘false statements’ to Fenland Council over Whittlesey bungalow. ‘He should not benefit from this deception’ says enforcement officer
- Credit: Archant
Company director and property boss David Ashman has been accused of deliberately concealing from Fenland Council that he had split a Whittlesey bungalow in two separate properties without planning consent.
Mr Ashman, 64, of Park Road, Peterborough, had hoped the council would accept his submission that because the division had been undetected for more than four years, he could be issued with a certificate to prove it.
But in a robust refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for 64 Low Cross, the council said his evidence did not stack up.
Enforcement officers said it fell within the time guidelines but recommended refusal "as the applicant has made false statements to conceal the fact that the property had been divided. He should not benefit from this deception."
In a series of emails in recent years about council tax there remained some confusion as to who was living in which part of the bungalow.
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And, says the council, the emails contain statements "that conceal the occupation of the premises as two separate properties".
These emails, say the council, are "factually untrue when compared with the tenancy agreements also submitted.
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"On that basis, the emails are considered to represent the concealment of the separation of the property into two separate dwellings".
The council agreed that the bungalow had been split for some years and so therefore fulfilled part of the requirement of a certificate of lawfulness.
But email evidence, says the council, show that at times the bungalow was "variously vacant, empty and unoccupied and occupied only by a single resident at times during the relevant period".
As such, says the council, and based on case law the applicant is not able to rely on the four-year rule for immunity from enforcement action as it relies on his concealing from the council the segregation into two and the occupation by two separate people.
A neighbour told the council that with the number of cars connected to the bungalow and with no off-road parking it had added to congestion locally.
"Previously we've noticed that people have been sat in their cars outside the property for a substantial amount of time. "We are not sure what they are doing but it seems a bit strange."