Sultan Mahmood, a landlord hailing from Woking, found himself in a legal bind as a result of repeated failures to adhere to a Planning Enforcement Notice. This notice pertained to an ‘L-shaped’ dormer that deviated from the initially approved plans. Despite receiving multiple warnings, Mahmood failed to take corrective action, leading to legal repercussions.
The local authorities, recognizing the ongoing violations, took stern measures. As a result, Mahmood was slapped with a substantial fine of £12,000 for his persistent non-compliance with the Planning Enforcement Notice. This hefty penalty aimed to hold him accountable for disregarding the approved plans and regulations, emphasizing the importance of adhering to planning guidelines in property management.
In addition to the financial penalty, Mahmood was also held responsible for covering the council’s legal costs, which amounted to £3,532.50. This underlines the significant expenses that can accrue when landlords do not abide by planning regulations. Moreover, a victim surcharge of £170 was imposed as part of the legal proceedings, serving as a reminder of the consequences of non-compliance with planning regulations and the need to follow approved plans diligently.
In October 2018, Mahmood was granted planning permission for a change of ground floor property use from office to residential, as well as the construction of a single-storey extension and a rear roof dormer. This approval marked a significant milestone in his property development journey.
However, as construction progressed, the council’s Planning Enforcement Team received a concerning complaint. It came to their attention that additional building works, specifically an unauthorized ‘L-shaped’ dormer, were being undertaken at the rear of Mahmood’s property. This deviation from the approved plans raised red flags.
Upon notification of the unauthorized construction, Mahmood took the step of submitting a retrospective planning application in an attempt to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, his application was met with refusal by Woking Borough Council’s Planning Committee in February 2019. The refusal underscored the significance of adhering to the initially approved plans and complying with planning regulations.
Subsequently, in March 2019, a decisive move was made by the authorities. A Planning Enforcement Notice was issued to Mr. Mahmood, clearly stipulating that he must remove the unapproved ‘L-shaped’ dormer by July 2019 and return the property to its compliance with the original approved plans. Notably, no appeal was lodged in response to the enforcement notice, emphasizing the importance of prompt and full compliance with planning directives.
Nevertheless, in a follow-up inspection conducted in March 2020, it became apparent that the unauthorized dormer persisted, defying the prior directives. At this juncture, Mahmood received a stern warning. He was explicitly informed that unless the unapproved dormer was eradicated by September 2020, legal prosecution proceedings would be initiated.
Despite being presented with additional opportunities to rectify the situation in line with the Planning Enforcement Notice, Mahmood chose not to take corrective action. This persistent non-compliance ultimately led to the commencement of prosecution proceedings in December 2022.
Mahmood’s legal journey unfolded in Staines Magistrates’ Court, where he was found guilty in his absence under section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The court’s ruling imposed a fine of £12,000 upon him, along with a victim surcharge of £170. Additionally, Mahmood was directed to cover the legal costs incurred by the council, amounting to £3,532.50. This legal outcome serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to planning regulations and promptly addressing compliance issues.
A spokesperson from Woking council commented, emphasizing the crucial role of planning regulations in preserving the local environment against unsuitable and excessive development. This case serves as an unfortunate example of a property owner who disregarded the planning process, assuming he could act without consequence.
Throughout the course of this legal action, planning officers demonstrated unwavering commitment to upholding the regulations. They offered Mr. Mahmood numerous opportunities to align with the approved plans, but regrettably, he chose not to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.
As a result, the substantial fine imposed in this case should serve as a clear warning to anyone contemplating bypassing the planning process. It illustrates that the consequences of such actions can be far more financially burdensome than adhering to the correct procedures from the outset. This outcome underscores the importance of responsible and compliant property development within the bounds of the law.