Farmer fined £250,000 for planning breach
By mattcollison | Thursday, September 13, 2012, 12:57
A FARMER who made neighbours' lives a misery after using his farmland as a commercial garage and demolition yard without planning permission has been fined £250,000.
Land at Padd Farm in Egham was transformed for a range of commercial uses including a car breakers and caravan site without planning permission.
Daniel William Beach, of Padd Farm, Hurst Lane, Egham, ran a car repairs service and vehicle breaking business without the necessary planning approval.
Guildford Crown Court heard on Tuesday (September 11) how he also used the land to set up a removals depot, commercial storage and food preparation without authorisation.
Land was also transformed into a site for dozens of caravans complete with a shower block.
Judge Neil Stewart ruled that Mr Beach had gained more than £300,000 from criminal conduct in relation to non-compliance with enforcement notices served by Runnymede Borough Council (RBC).
Mr Beach's assets were considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and he was ordered to pay the £250,000 under a confiscation order within six months or go to prison.
RBC is expected to receive a percentage of the confiscation order to the value of £62,500.
The news is likely to be welcomed by members of Hurst Lane Residents' Association who have fought for more than three years to stop Mr Beach using the land for its unauthorised purpose.
The group of residents had put pressure on the council to take action after suffering years of noise nuisance at Padd Farm.
RBC chief executive Paul Turrell said: "It is regrettable that the council has to take action in the Courts to remedy flagrant breaches of planning laws.
"However, Padd Farm has been a problem over many years and residents of Hurst Lane have suffered from the activities pursued on the site.
"We now hope that the Enforcement Notices in place will be complied with and that the land will be restored to its lawful use."
He added: "Breaches of planning law are not acceptable and the diligence and hard work of our planning enforcement and legal teams have ensured a positive outcome for the Council and the residents affected by these breaches."
The site is located within the Green Belt and has a lawful use for agriculture.
Enforcement notices were served to ensure that these were removed and the land brought back in to use for its lawful purpose.
Mr Beach pleaded guilty in November 2011 at Guildford Crown Court to 13 counts of failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices.
The notices were upheld by a Planning Inspector following a Public Inquiryheld in November 2009 into Mr Beach's appeals against the Council.
The Council was also awarded partial costs of the appeals against the landowners.
Runnymede Council formally started prosecution proceedings against Mr Beach in July 2011.