Council secures convictions against non-compliance of planning enforcement notices.

Thursday, October 14, 2021


On the 12th of October 2021, Rochford District Council secured convictions at Basildon Crown Court against two defendants in relation to offences of non-compliance with Enforcement Notices at Fairways Garden Centre, Hullbridge Road, Rayleigh.

The sentences were as follows:

Mr. Joseph Bibby – Criminal benefit of £126,997.36; conditional discharge (24 months). Costs £4088.58. 12 months to pay.

Mr. Simon Ellis – conditional discharge (12 months). Costs £3045.18. 12 months to pay.
The sentencing for the third defendant was adjourned to April 2022.

The matters before the courts pertained to the continuous non-compliance with planning enforcement notices concerning the unauthorised use of the garden centre for the operation of a paving company and for the stationing of caravans for residential use. The enforcement notices had been issued and served in 2010 and 2017, respectively. Neither of these two notices were complied with fully, despite several attempts by the Council. The planning legislation provides that noncompliance with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence. Therefore, following continued noncompliance with the notices, the Council initiated legal proceedings for the prosecution.

All defendants had previously appeared before Southend Magistrates Courts on the 17th of November 2020 pleading guilty for the same matter, however the case had been adjourned to Basildon Crown Court to deal with confiscation of criminal proceeds.

Cllr Ian Ward, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning said “this is a great result for the Council and shows that non-compliance with Enforcement Notices in respect of planning permission across the District will not be tolerated The planning enforcement process may seem lengthy but it's essential to protecting our District from unauthorised development and taking appropriate action. The Council does not condone breaches of planning control."