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Chorleywood builder landed with £50k bill for flouting council regulations
A builder was fined nearly £50,000 for flouting council planning laws while he was developing homes in Chorleywood.
David Lewis was told by Three Rivers District Council to cease work on The Bards in December as he did not have the relevant planning permission required.
When issued with the stop notices, Lewis told a member of the council’s planning department: "You know I don’t comply with those."
The 54-year-old, who lives in a caravan with his girlfriend in Chalfont St Giles, was ordered to pay £15,000 for each of the three days he breached the stop notice when he appeared at Watford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and pay £2,805 towards the costs of the prosecution.
Lewis also pleaded guilty to contravening a notice issued by the district council to control noise coming from a building site in Quickley Lane between March 14 and March 17.
He was fined £3,333 and ordered to pay costs of £385.
Lewis pleaded guilty to breaching temporary stop notices issued by the council for land at The Bards.
Lewis continued to work on the property on December 5, 6, and 7 after the notice was issued on December 4, the court heard.
In October 2013, Matthew Roberts, from Three Rivers District Council, visited The Bards following complaints from residents.
The court heard that Mr Roberts noticed a trench has been built around the house and that a metre-high wall had been erected. Neither of these had planning permission.
On December 4 a stop notice was issued by the council. In response to the notice, Lewis told Mr Roberts: "Matthew, you know I don’t comply with those."
The following day, Mr Roberts returned to the site and saw that all copies of the site notice had been removed and workmen on the land were operating JCBs.
Solicitors at the council went to the high court for an injunction to stop Lewis working on the site and on December 6 an injunction was issued.
Workmen finally left the site on December 9.
The court also heard that Lewis had planning permission to develop 79 and 81 Quickley Lane into six houses - three on each plot.
The houses, which have been completed, are now on the market and known as Clover Court.
However, residents began complaining to Three Rivers District Council in March about the amount of noise coming from the site in March.
Comments from neighbours were read out in court, in which residents wrote to the council asking: "Will we get any peace?"
Others reported that there was a "loud disturbance" coming from the properties as banging noises and large tarmac machines were rolling on to the site.
Lewis addressed the court, saying that neighbours were overreacting about the work being carried out.
He said: "It’s a small site and this is a site that the local neighbours are up in arms about and they are on the phone five times an hour complaining about."
The court heard that the maximum fines on each of the breach of stop notices was £20,000 and a breach of the pollution act could cost Lewis £5,000, meaning he was facing possible fine of £65,000.
Lewis held his hands up to going against the council’s planning regulations, saying: "I accept full responsibility for all works carried out."
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