Fined for blot on Peak’s landscape

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A HIGH Peak resident who refused to tear down unauthorised buildings and remove his belongings from land in the open countryside has been convicted of failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice.

Mark Bennett, 48, of Small Knowle End, Peak Dale appeared before Buxton Magistrates on Friday when he admitted failing to comply with the notice served by High Peak Borough Council relating to land opposite Small Knowle End.

Bennett was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £542 plus a court surcharge of £15, making £1,057 in total.

He told magistrates that he had already carried out some of the works and that he would make good the site before the end of the month.

The order means that Bennett must:

• Remove unauthorised hard standing and buildings including a steel container

• Reduce the height of an unlawful boundary fence and gates

• Stop using the land for storage of vehicles, trailers, building materials and domestic possessions

• Reinstate the whole area with topsoil and grass.

Magistrates heard that Bennett had failed to comply with a notice that gave him six months until last September to remove the structures built without planning permission and to clean up the site.

Ian Huddlestone, executive councillor for regeneration, said: “The defendant was given an extremely generous period of time to comply with the enforcement notice but he failed to do so.

“The unauthorised development had a poor appearance that was damaging the character of the area and ruining the countryside for residents and visitors alike.

“This successful prosecution underlines the fact that we take planning enforcement very seriously,” he warned.