Council successfully defends enforcement notice against concealed dwelling

Posted on Friday 26th August 2022

An enforcement notice was served on a Newport resident who erected a concealed dwelling without planning permission at Lighthouse Farm, St Brides. 

In January 2021, Stephen Gibbons was originally served the notice to remove unauthorised uses, including car repairs, and a structure being used as a residential house. 

The notice contended that Mr Gibbons had materially changed the use of agricultural buildings and a yard at his property, to a mixed use of storage (non-agricultural), horse use, vehicle repairs and a dwelling. 

The council ordered Mr Gibbons to remove the house, cease the unauthorised mixed use of the site, and return it to its previous state, prior to the breach of planning regulations.  

Mr Gibbons appealed the notice to Planning and Environmental Decisions Wales, claiming that the dwelling was immune from enforcement action due to the length of time it had existed.  

The planning inspector found in the council’s favour and commented that “those positive acts of deception and deliberate concealment should deprive the appellant from gaining immunity”. 

Mr Gibbons is required to cease the unauthorised residential, storage (non-agricultural) and vehicle repair uses and remove all items from the land other than those used in connection with the agricultural and equestrian uses.   

He was also ordered to pay partial costs to the council on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. 

Councillor James Clarke, cabinet member for strategic planning, housing and regulation, said: “I’m pleased that Planning and Environmental Decisions Wales agreed with the council’s assessment that this structure was erected without permission and deliberately concealed in order to bypass planning regulations. 

“Planning regulations are in place for good reasons.  They seek to protect all of us against inappropriate development and this decision demonstrates that deliberate acts to deceive and mislead will be found out.  The council will take enforcement action against anyone who deliberately breaches the rules in this manner. “



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