Resident faces £1,550 bill for failing to comply with ‘Untidy Site Notice’
Published Thursday, 11th July 2019
A local resident faces a £1,550 bill following a legal dispute with the council regarding a fire-damaged property in Chalkwell.
Mr Solomon, of Western Road, Leigh-on-Sea - who is one of the owners of 51 Chalkwell Avenue, which was gutted by a fire on 3 January 2015 – faces the bill for failing to comply with a Section 215 Notice, commonly referred to as an ‘Untidy Site Notice’.
Following the blaze at the property in 2015, concerns were raised by local residents about the state of the building, including the visual impact on the local street scene and potential dangers of the property due to the building being easily accessible through lack of proper hoardings. In November 2016, council officers commenced their investigation concerning the site.
From this point, discussions between the owners of the property, the insurance company and the council were ongoing and on 8 August 2017, Mr Solomon was served with the Section 215 Notice, setting out that improvements to the building should be completed appropriately within six months of the notice coming into effect on 8 September 2017.
Officers visited the site once again on 11 April 2018 to note that the site remained as it did from a visit in July 2017, and as such, Mr Solomon had failed to adhere to the notice. On Monday 8 July at Basildon Magistrates Court, he was subsequently fined £500, faced costs of £1,000 and had to pay a victim surcharge of £50, totalling a £1,550 bill.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, deputy cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “This property was an eye-sore in Chalkwell for far too long and I personally am delighted to finally see it gone. It is a very prominent location on a junction which is a major thoroughfare within the Borough.
“We tried continuously to work with the resident to avoid the situation we are now in where he now has to foot a £1,550 bill. However, when there is reluctance to work cohesively with us, particularly when the property in question is in such a poor state, we must take the appropriate steps to rectify the issues.
“This has been a drawn-out process, as all legal matters are due to their complex nature, but we are pleased to move on from this and look forward to whatever comes next for this plot of land.”
Section 215 Notice – ‘Untidy Site Notice’
Section 215 (s215) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (the Act) provides a local planning authority (LPA) with the power, in certain circumstances, to take steps requiring land to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the amenity of the area. If it appears that the amenity of part of their area is being adversely affected by the condition of neighbouring land and buildings, they may serve a notice on the owner requiring that the situation be remedied.
These notices set out the steps that need to be taken, and the time within which they must be carried out. LPAs also have powers under s219 to undertake the clean-up works themselves and to recover the costs from the landowner.