Failure to remove shipping container and building tools leads to £5,500 fine and costs

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A builder who placed a shipping container and other structures on farmland to store tools, machinery and building materials has been ordered to pay £5,530 in costs and fines following a prosecution brought by East Hampshire District Council. 

Jimmy Searle was issued with an enforcement notice by EHDC’s Planning Enforcement team, ordering him to return land at Lumbry Farm Cottages, on Selborne Road, near Alton, to its original state. 

Searle, of Nyewood, near Petersfield, laid concrete hard-standing, erected a barn and placed a large metal shipping container on site. He also used the field to store vehicles, including a forklift truck, a trailer and other building paraphernalia, such as metal gates and fencing. 

The land is outside the settlement boundary and in open countryside and EHDC officers felt there was no justification to use it in a way that eroded the visual amenity and rural character of the area. 

They took Searle, the owner of the land at the time of the offence, to court for not complying with the enforcement notice. 

At a hearing on 14 April, at Aldershot Magistrates Court, the defendant was ordered to pay £5,530 in fines, costs and victim surcharge. 

Simon Jenkins, the Chief Operating Officer at East Hampshire District Council, said: “Anyone who fails to comply with an enforcement notice is committing a criminal offence. We are determined to take positive action to ensure compliance with all breaches of planning law.   

“EHDC has strengthened its Planning Enforcement Team and developers need to be aware that if they breach local planning regulations they will find themselves facing legal proceedings.”  

  • This is the second planning enforcement case EHDC has won in the last month after an Alpaca farmer was ordered to remove a mobile home from farmland in Greatham

Alpaca farmer ordered to clear national park site