Hefty Court fine for illegal roof extension
A company that ignored a planning enforcement notice from Hackney Council has been slapped with a £40,000 fine after legal action.
On 3 February at Thames Magistrates Court, Sternglade Ltd, owner of the property in Stoke Newington, were given a fine of £40,000, ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £1,760 and a victim surcharge of £170 after failing to demolish a roof extension built without planning permission.
The property is a large Victorian villa, currently let out as flats and is in the Northwold and Cazenove Conservation Area of Hackney. The roof had been extended to the rear and the side which was unacceptable in terms of design and scale.
The Council originally took enforcement action in 2009, ordering the demolition of the roof extension by 23 March 2010. When this failed to happen the Council prosecuted, resulting in a conviction at Thames Magistrates Court on 15 December. Sternglade pleaded guilty to the offence of failure to comply with a Council Enforcement Notice and had to pay £4,700 in fines and costs.
Between 2009 and 2010 the company attempted to gain planning permission for an acceptable alternative scheme but having done so, did not take any steps to rectify the building and that permission expired on 1 March 2015.
The Council began a second prosecution and the case against the company finished this month. The extension is now being demolished.
A Director of the company, Michael Scharf, was also charged with the same offence. He repeatedly failed to attend Court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
This company not only ignored the Council’s enforcement notice but even when they had the chance to correct the works they didn’t take this opportunity. The Council is there to apply Planning rules that support and enable safe and appropriate development in the borough. However, the Council won’t hesitate to take legal action if those rules are broken and no effort is made to rectify an unauthorised development.
For more information about Hackney Council’s planning service, visit: www.hackney.gov.uk/planning