Published: Friday, 13th December 2019
A Well Hill man who built a wall more than two metres high without planning permission was fined £11,610 by Sevenoaks Magistrates’ court on Friday 6 December 2019.
John William Tibbs of Heather Rock Hill, BR6 7PP pleaded guilty to breaching a Planning Enforcement Notice issued by Sevenoaks District Council in April 2015. The notice ordered Tibbs to demolish the brick and metal structure outside his home as well as removing a raised patio behind the wall.
The oversized, overbearing structure, which runs the length of the property, was out-of-keeping within the Green Belt in which it was situated. It also posed a danger to other road users by blocking sight lines of drivers leaving the property.
Tibbs applied for planning permission to retain the wall on three occasions. Two applications proposed minor modifications to the structure. All three applications were refused by Sevenoaks District Council. Tibbs appealed against two of the Council’s decisions and on both occasions, the appeals were rejected by the Government’s Planning Inspector.
Despite the Enforcement Notice being issued more than four years ago, Tibbs has taken no action to remove the wall or the patio and the Council had no other option but to take action through the courts.
Last Friday, Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court handed down a £9,000 fine, costs of £2,540 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Sevenoaks District Council will take further legal action if Tibbs fails to comply with the Enforcement Notice.
Cllr Julia Thornton, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Conservation, says: “This wall is overbearing and out of keeping in its rural Green Belt setting. The Planning Inspectorate clearly agreed with us by refusing it twice on appeal. Despite being a long-running case, we were prepared to do what was necessary to continue to protect the Green Belt and we will not hesitate to take further action if the wall is not demolished.”