Michael Rudd, planning barrister at Kings Chambers, has appeared in a list of Planning Resource’s top 21 planning confiscation cases by value in 2018. The case, which involves successful prosecution of the owner of an unauthorised scrapyard for breaches of an enforcement notice, features at number 9.
Instructed by David Campbell, Litigation Solicitor with South Staffordshire Council, Michael successfully prosecuted the owner of an unauthorised scrapyard for breaches of an enforcement notice served under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and subsequently secured a substantial confiscation order.
Andrew Taff, the owner of the scrapyard near Hatherton, Cannock, was convicted at Stafford Crown Court in June 2017 on a three count indictment alleging breaches of an enforcement notice requiring cessation of the unauthorised use of the land by March 2013. Following conviction the Court was requested to commence confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. After what was a highly complex investigation the Court made a confiscation order requiring the owner of the land to pay £150,000 within 3 months, with a custodial sentence in default of 18 months imposed in the event of non-payment.
In sentencing the owner of the land to a fine of £24,000 with 8 months to pay and a default custodial sentence of 12 months HHJ Chambers described the unauthorised use of the land as “like a dramatic scene from a Steinbeck novel”. The owner of the land was also ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £28, 280.00, resulting in a total financial penalty of some £202,000.
Michael Rudd commented the “…this is a perfect example of how and why local authority enforcement teams should use all of the tools in their armoury to secure compliance with enforcement notices. In the face of a history of the Courts imposing ineffective fines for such breaches, using confiscation proceedings to remove the financial benefit of the unlawful activity provides councils with real teeth…”.
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