Thurrock Council has secured a confiscation order worth £553,772 against a man who set-up a self-storage business on Green Belt land without planning permission.
The local authority said Paul Ballard, formerly of Theydon Bois, Essex, had set the self-storage business up in 2014 using Kevin Flack – who was also given a confiscation order at the same trial – to front it.
The defendants did not comply with an enforcement notice that required them to close the business and return the land to its original state.
Following a hearing on 6 December 2021 at Basildon Crown Court, Ballard has been ordered to pay back the money made from the business and the sale of the land at Burrows Farm, Brentwood Road, Bulphan.
Cllr Ben Maney, Thurrock’s Cabinet member with responsibility for planning, said: "This demonstrates that those who seek to break planning regulations to set-up businesses on land without planning permission will not profit by breaking the rules.
"This significant confiscation order should serve as a warning that we take breaches of planning and enforcement notices extremely seriously and will use every legal means at our disposal to ensure justice is done.”
As well as the £553,772 confiscation order against Ballard, a nominal order of £1 was made against Kevin Flack. Thurrock said that even though Flack had benefitted from the scheme, the court heard he was an unwitting front-man for Ballard's illicit business.
Ballard was not ordered to pay costs or a fine. “The judge thought there was no reasonable prospect of him paying because he is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, rape, attempted rape, assault, criminal damage and threats to kill,” Thurrock said.