Court summons for breach of enforcement notice

Court summons for breach of enforcement notice

Postby aka_Ciaran » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:11 am

During renovations last year I set about creating off street parking in front of my house, which involved knocking a wall leading from the road/footpath to the house. My brother when helping me out mistakenly knocked the wall parallel to the footpath also. I knew very little about planning at this point and didn't know that I needed planning permission for off street parking. After this the brown stuff started to hit the fan. The timeline of events:

- 24 March 06 warning letter from council saying unauthorised development was being carried out in breach of Section 152 of Planning & Dev Act
- 04 May 06 enforcement notice received giving 4 weeks (deadline 02 June) for reinstatement of boundary wall
- 16 June I apply for retention planning permission. Various discussion back and forth between me and council, with permission eventually granted
- 11 Aug 2006 Decision date for grant of permission
- 19 Sep 2006 Date of Final Grant, giving 6 months to complete the work

After the enforcement letter I didn't hear any more about being in breach of P&D act, so I assumed that applying for retention permission had taken care of this. Then out of the blue on 02 Jan this year I receive a summons to appear in court on Feb 1st for non compliance with the enforcement notice, even though I was granted permission. I went through months of applying for retention permission and there was never any word about the enforcement letter...the pp took 3 months in total. 7 months have lapsed since the date for the deadline of the enforcement notice and it's taken them that long to get back to me. They have put their costs at 2,150 in total...legal costs at 1000 euro, and the remaining 1150 is basically handling / admin / processing of their site inspections, reports, etc. They said if I pay the costs they will recommend that the case be struck out.

So I'm wondering where I stand. For a start I think 2150 euro is ridiculous.
- Can they grant me retention permission but still say I'm in breach of an enforcement notice that directly relates to the permission I was granted?
- I don't have 2150 euro...if I go to court and refuse to pay or say I can't afford to pay, what will happen?
- Surely the enforcement notice should have come up at some point during the 3 months that the pp application was going on for. I'm not an engineer or a solicitor so am only learning about all this as it happens.

* I have read the charter and I know any replies are just advice. I will be getting legal advice but will be a few days yet. I want to get general feedback/thoughts/ideas first *

Cheers,
Ciaran.
aka_Ciaran
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Re: Court summons for breach of enforcement notice

Postby alonso » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:22 pm

check other threads here. The application for retention has no bearing on enforcment procedures. They are 2 seperate processes, even if they relate to the same development. We've had a few queries on this lately, such as this:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=5811

The problem here is that had they the resources to carry out the enforcement procedure within a reasonable timeframe, it wouldn't be such a mess. There will be a fine, but the figure you quote is ludicrous 1150 for admin??? obviously they're charging by the hour.
Quick answers to your question:
-Yes, the offence occurred and is therefore still punishable in theory, as far as i know
-I'm sure an arrangement can be made. This is hardly a major planning breach compared to what the likes of Jim Mansfield gets up to. But the penalties can be severe. Not knowing the law is no defense. As it's always said here, professional advice should be sought at all stages in the development process, no matter how insignifcant it might seem
-Never ever underestimate the depths of the inefficiency rife within the Local Authority structure!!

Another major headache with these cases is the time it takes and the resultant stress and irritation.
Let us know how you get on with it...
alonso
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Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:33 pm


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