Gypsy Lane Aspley Guise Image Central Bedfordshire Council

Two owners of land at Gypsy Lane Aspley Guise have been fined more than £1,400 after failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued by Central Bedfordshire Council to clear allotment land of building materials and metal containers.

The landowners, Mr Paul Hughes and Mrs Helen Hughes, Directors of HPH Estates Ltd, were served with an enforcement notice in October 2019, by Council enforcement officers, because their land which is meant to be used as an allotment had instead been used to store building materials and storage containers, which goes against planning regulation for allotment land.

To comply with the notice all of the items should have been cleared from the land by the end of January 2020.

Enforcement officers liaised with the landowners during 2020 and some clearance of the site did take place. But two large metal storage containers as well as some plant equipment remained.

A final warning was issued for full compliance to be achieved by August 2020. Following a site inspection in October 2020, officers confirmed that the landowners had failed to comply.

The prosecution case was considered by St Albans Magistrates on 31 March 2021. Both Mr and Mrs Hughes pled guilty to non-compliance of the enforcement notice and were each fined £385 inclusive of victim support costs, and the council’s costs of £671.50 were also awarded.

The total costs required to be paid to the court was £1441.50.

Cllr Kevin Collins, executive member for planning and regeneration, said:

“By bringing this case to prosecution, we have shown that we will take action against any landowner that fails to comply with our enforcement notices.

“Our officers will now carry out further inspections and unless there is full compliance with the notice and the land is cleared, the issue will be taken back to the Magistrates Court.”