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Ignore the Planners and See What Happens

A landlord who decided to go ahead with a property development after the planners had turned it down ended up significantly worse off after he was successfully prosecuted.

Having had his application to turn his existing property into nine flats rejected, the landlord decided to let the property out as multiple occupancy units in breach of planning permission. He was eventually served with an enforcement notice by the local council, which he ignored. As well as the letting being a breach of planning law, some of the rooms let were illegally substandard in size.

Eight years later, he was found guilty of various planning offences, with the result that his criminal profits were the subject of a confiscation order for more than £550,000 and he was ordered to pay a fine of £65,000 and £80,000 in costs. If the confiscation order is not satisfied within three months, the landlord faces a jail term of more than five years.

The temptation to ignore planning decisions and proceed regardless is not one which normally has anything to recommend it. It can lead, as in this case, to dire consequences. Generally, property owners who engage on a reasonable basis with the local planning authorities have the best chance of being successful.

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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.