A couple have been handed a £20,000 fine after being found guilty of offences under the Town and Country Planning Act relating to outbuildings and a fish pond.
Ishitaq Ahmed, 47, and Mrs Nila Ahmed, 50, of 33 Wollaton Vale, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court last month (11 October) after failing to comply with the requirements of a planning enforcement notice served by Broxtowe Borough Council. They were also ordered to pay £1,140 prosecution costs and a £260 victim surcharge.
The local authority said the matter had spanned over a number of years and involved various breaches of planning control, some of which had been resolved with retrospective planning permission and others by negotiation with the council.
Broxtowe said: “Complaints were received by the council as long ago as 2013 when the Ahmeds started to carry out works to the rear garden including erecting a number of outbuildings and creating a fish pond.
“Council officers visited the property on numerous occasions over the years in an attempt to resolve matters however, the Ahmeds continued to carry out work to the garden and at one point it is fair to say that the garden resembled a building site.”
The Ahmeds had been granted planning permission to erect a pond with strict restrictions on the height of the pond walls, but they failed to adhere to the planning permission, the council said.
“In addition the Ahmeds dug up the grassed area leading to a brook and replaced it with concrete, the intention it was said was to cover this area with artificial grass. Planning permission would have been required to concrete the grass bank.”
The council served an enforcement notice in August 2017 requiring the height of the pond walls to be reduced and the concrete area to be removed and replaced with grass reinstating the banks of the brook with native plant species.
The council said the notice was ignored and it was left “with no choice” but to issue court proceedings.
At the hearing, the Ahmeds pleaded guilty.
The Magistrates said the breach of the enforcement notice was a serious matter and the harm that the Ahmeds had caused could not be ignored.
After the hearing Mr Ahmed told the Nottingham Post: "I know it might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's my back garden and I can't see the issue with it….
"I'm baffled at the fine, £20,000 is a lot and it's set me back. I am just a layman. I felt spoken down to about it all. I do think it's been unfair."