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Couple found guilty of breaching Planning Regulations

Exeter Crown Court

Torridge District Council has successfully prosecuted a Chilsworthy couple who set up residence in a caravan on agricultural land without planning permission.

Last year the Council served an enforcement notice requiring that the residential use of the land should cease, the caravans removed, and the unauthorised use of the land for camping and caravanning should also cease. The landowner did not comply with the notice.

The landowner, Laine Shepherd and her husband Stephen Shepherd originally appeared before Barnstaple Magistrate's Court in February for their failure to comply with the requirements of the enforcement notice, where they elected to be tried in the Crown Court.

The trial began on 24 September and jury delivered its guilty verdict on 26 September. Laine Shepherd was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £8,500 costs with a victim surcharge of £170; if not paid within 3 months she would serve 6 months imprisonment.  Stephen Shepherd was fined £1,000 with £1,788 costs and £100 victim surcharge; to be paid within 3 months or face 28 days imprisonment.

Councillor Pete Watson, Lead Member for Planning welcomed the decision of Exeter Crown Court. He says "this conviction sends out a clear message that Torridge District Council will not tolerate people who wilfully and knowingly refuse to comply with planning regulations. We have a robust enforcement process in place and whilst our officers will always provide people with ample opportunities to comply; we will prosecute those that continue to offend".

01 October 2018