Council takes court action to protect Thanet’s heritage

Thanet District Council has successfully prosecuted the owner of a Grade II listed building for carrying out unauthorised works inside the property.

The owner of the house in Fort Crescent, Margate was found guilty on two charges: one for carrying out unauthorised work to a Grade II Listed Building; and one for failing to comply with the enforcement notice served by the council requiring the property to be returned to its original layout.

At Canterbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday 28 February, the owner, Mrs Bahl pleaded guilty and was fined £780.

The council was first notified of the unauthorised works being carried out in February 2013. The owner then submitted a retrospective listed building application which was refused, followed by an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate which was also dismissed. In April 2015 the council served an enforcement notice which the owner failed to fulfil by the compliance date of September 2015. This left the council with no alternative but to prosecute the owner for the above mentioned offences.

Following this guilty verdict, the enforcement notice will remain in place until the owner has completed the work required. The property will be re-inspected in May 2017, and if the notice is still not complied with, then the owner could be taken back to Court and receive a further fine.

Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Cabinet Member for Community Services said:

“The heritage of Thanet is one of our greatest assets and it is a criminal offence to carry out any works to a listed building without first obtaining the proper consent.”

“The council takes a strong approach towards anyone found to be carrying out unauthorised works. A person who is convicted of such an offence can be liable to imprisonment or a fine of up to £20,000, or both. These punishments are greater in case of conviction at the Crown Court.”

“If anyone wants to carry out works to a listed building it is essential that they first seek advice from the council’s Planning Department.”

Further Information on carrying out works on listed buildings can be found at: /your-services/planning/heritage-and-conservation/carrying-out-works-to-a-listed-building/

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