17 February, 2022

Council achieves shop closures and prosecutions for planning enforcement

In recent weeks, the council has achieved a number of successful prosecutions for non-compliance with enforcement notices under the Town and Country Planning Act.

Thanet-based developer, Mr Harris of Harris Property Ltd,  was successfully prosecuted at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Monday 31 January, resulting in fines and costs totalling £2,240. The prosecution was brought due to failure to comply with Breach of Condition Notices relating to overdue work and landscaping at the Royal Sea Bathing development on Canterbury Road, Margate. Complaints related to failure to complete the works had previously been received. 

The owner of the Westgate Bay Café was prosecuted at Margate Magistrates’ Court on Monday 7 February after failing to comply with a Breach of Condition Notice, resulting in a fine of £1,250. Planning permission had been granted for a first floor extension with a terrace and for modifications to create disabled access. Permission was conditional on the planting of a sedum roof to increase biodiversity, which then hadn’t been installed. 

Cllr Ash Ashbee, Leader of the Council, said: “Breaches of planning control are taken seriously and the council will take formal action to secure compliance. Any conditions that are imposed on a grant of planning permission form an important part of any development. We would advise anyone securing planning permission to ensure that they comply fully with planning conditions.”

The council’s Community Team continues to work in partnership with Kent County Council Trading Standards to stop criminal behaviour. After months of investigations, test purchases and disruption operations, the team sought a Closure Order under Section 80 of the ASB Crime and Disorder Act 2014. Folkestone Magistrates’ Court authorised the Closure Orders on three commercial premises due to the sale of illicit tobacco and all three shops were also directed to pay court costs.

The premises are: 

  • Al Madinah, 106 Northdown Road, Margate
  • International Mini Market, 200a Northdown Road, Margate
  • King Street Retail, King Street, Ramsgate. 

These properties had previously been closed for selling illicit tobacco, and reopened in August 2021 after a 3 month court-ordered Closure Order. Test purchases carried out by Trading Standards showed that they had continued their previous illegal behaviour. The Closure Orders prohibit anyone entering the premises and will be in place until Saturday 14 May 2022. Thanet District Council Community Team and KCC Trading standards will continue operations across the district to stop the sale of illicit tobacco in all areas of the district.

Cllr George Kup, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Youth Engagement, said

“Along with our partner agencies, we are committed to the fight against cheap and illicit tobacco. These closures should send a strong message to businesses not cooperating with authorities when it comes to making our district a better place to live. Illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime – it harms legitimate businesses and society in general due to tax not being paid, facilitates the supply of tobacco to underage people and supports organised criminal networks.

“I would like to thank all of the partners for their hard work on this operation as well as members of the public for reporting illegal sales. I encourage everyone to continue to do this and help reduce the harm caused by tobacco in our communities.” 

If you would like to report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999 or report it anonymously at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk

You can report any anti-social behaviour, including the sale of illicit tobacco, to the council’s Community Team on community.safety@thanet.gov.uk

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