Test Valley Borough Council has won a legal battle to protect part of the countryside in Goodworth Clatford after enforcing a planning decision.
In 2018, a tarmac scalping hardstanding was laid around the water tower in the village. Although the tower isn’t a listed building, it is considered to be an important landmark feature of Goodworth Clatford, having been erected in 1936 and sits among attractive countryside.
Upon discovering that this had been done without permissions, the council advised the applicant to remove the tarmacked ground, and that this was likely to be rejected by the council if a retrospective planning application was submitted. Despite this advice, the applicant chose to submit an application having already carried out the work, but this was then refused, and a planning enforcement notice given.
This refusal of planning permission and the issuing of an enforcement notice was then appealed, but the Planning Inspectorate found in the council’s favour earlier this year as it breached planning policies in the council’s Local Plan. Having been given three months to remove the tarmac and restore the land, the defendants failed to fully comply, and the council began a prosecution process, which resulted in a successful day in court last month.
The defendants, D C Li (Builders Ltd) were fined £400 and made to pay £750 in costs, and a £40 victim surcharge as well as being ordered to remove the unauthorised materials.
Planning portfolio holder, and deputy leader, councillor Nick Adams-King, said: “Of course we are pleased with the result, but this matter isn’t necessarily about a successful prosecution. We don’t want for matters to come to this, but there were plenty of opportunities for this to have been put right earlier in the process.
“What this is about, is protecting our countryside. This water tower is in miles of beautiful fields and countryside, and works such as this causes considerable harm if it is not done right. I’m grateful for the work of our planning officers, enforcement team and legal service to see this through.”