Trio fined for storing caravans and boats on land without permission

front of ipswich magistrates court

Three men appeared before magistrates to admit breaching a notice issued by East Suffolk Council - Credit: Gregg Brown

Three men have been fined for breaching planning policy after storing vehicles, caravans and boats on land in Martlesham without permission.

Timothy William Johnson, Wyndham Johnson and Chris Brown appeared before Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to admit breaching an enforcement notice issued on April 1, 2019.

The notice related to the change of use of land, without planning permission, at Bridge Farm in Top Street, Martlesham.

The court heard items such as vehicles, caravans, boats, digger buckets, lorry backs, bricks, building materials, pallets and scrap metal were stored on the land, which only had permission for a mixed use for agriculture and storage of cars and containers.

Two of the defendants, Timothy William Johnson, of Broomheath, Woodbridge, and Wyndham Johnson, of Foxhall Road, Ipswich, are the registered owners of the land, while the third defendant, Christopher Brown, of Elm Road, Rushmere St Andrew, is a tenant and involved in the management.

They had been required to permanently remove and cease using the land for the storage of items contained within the enforcement notice, and to return the land to the condition it was before the unauthorised development taking place.

An appeal against the enforcement notice was dismissed with some amendments by the Planning Inspectorate in a decision issued on July 20, 2020.

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The notice should have been complied with by January 20 last year, and a site visit undertaken on January 24 found that while a small area of the site had been cleared, the majority had not.

A three-month time extension, granted on January 26, required the enforcement notice to be complied with by May 26.

But a senior enforcement officer and assistant enforcement officer visited Bridge Farm on June 3 and found the requirements of the enforcement notice had not been complied with.

Timothy and Wyndham Johnson were each fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and a court surcharge of £190.

Brown was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £855 costs and a £100 court surcharge.

David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "We hope this sentence will serve as a reminder that enforcement notices are issued for good reason; to prevent unacceptable impact on the amenity of the area.

"All three defendants were given the opportunity to comply with the enforcement notice, but it was obvious to the visiting council’s officers that the notice had not been complied with."