Developer in court as characterful cottage demolished

Monday, 24 May, 2021

A developer has been prosecuted after demolishing a historic and characterful cottage in the village of East Meon.

Mark Probyn pleaded guilty to breaching planning laws at Aldershot Magistrates Court on 19 May, following a prosecution brought by East Hampshire District Council.

He was ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and costs.

The brick-built cottage, at 2-3 Chapel Street, dated back to the late 1800s and was protected from demolition as part a Conservation Area.

Probyn, of Coombe Road, East Meon, flattened the building on 12 March 2020 after being advised it had structural issues.

EHDC’s Planning Enforcement Officers carried out an investigation, which continued throughout the coronavirus lockdown, and brought the case to court.

Probyn pleaded guilty to an offence under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs and a £181 victim surcharge.

Cllr Ingrid Thomas, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Quality, said: “The harm caused by the demolition of this beautiful building is clear and significant. It is in a prominent place in the centre of the village and the impact it has had on the character of the area is significant.

“Charming properties like this one are part of what makes East Meon so special, and we will fight to make sure they are respected and preserved.

“It is very sad that this historic building has now gone forever and, although it will be replaced, it cannot be recreated.

“EHDC has a duty to protect our built heritage and we will prosecute breaches of planning law where they arise.”