Man fined £11,000 for building 'overbearing' unlawful wall in Kent green belt

A homeowner has been fined over £11,000 pounds after he built an "oversized, overbearing" wall within the Kent green belt without planning consent.

The illegal wall (pic: Sevenoaks Council)
The illegal wall (pic: Sevenoaks Council)

According to a statement from Sevenoaks District Council, John William Tibbs of Heather Rock Hill, Well Hill, built the wall more than two metres high outside his home without planning permission.

The council said the "oversized, overbearing structure, which runs the length of the property, was out-of-keeping within the green belt in which it was situated. It also posed a danger to other road users by blocking sight lines of drivers leaving the property".

Tibbs applied for planning permission to retain the brick and metal wall on three occasions, the statement said, but all were refused by the council.

He appealed against two of the council’s decisions and on both occasions, the appeals were rejected by a planning inspector.

The council said it issued a planning enforcement notice in April 2015, which ordered Tibbs to demolish the structure as well as removing a raised patio behind the wall.

Despite the notice being issued more than four years ago, Tibbs had taken no action to remove the wall or the patio and the council said it had had no other option but to take action through the courts.

Last Friday, Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court handed down a £9,000 fine, costs of £2,540 and a victim surcharge of £170, the authority said.

Councillor Julia Thornton, the council’s cabinet member for development and conservation, said: "Despite being a long-running case, we were prepared to do what was necessary to continue to protect the green belt and we will not hesitate to take further action if the wall is not demolished."

Last week, Planning reported that the owners of a "notorious illegal hostel" in a former convent had been ordered to pay £14,000 after failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices issued by Sevenoaks Council. 

Last  month, a Nottinghamshire woman who unlawfully built her own flood defences in a high risk flood zone was ordered to pay almost £1,400 by magistrates.

Also last month, Planning reported that Newark and Sherwood District Council won an enforcement case against a man who demolished a 19th century barn in a conservation area without planning permission.

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