A local landowner and parish councillor has been fined £13,000 after building without planning permission and failing to take remedial action.
When farmer Richard Eccles, who is Company Secretary of the Brockholes Arms Auction Mart, appeared at Lancaster magistrates court, it was the culmination of years of dispute with Wyre Council over a farm building.
In addition to the fine, Eccles, a Claughton on Brock parish councillor, must reduce the height of the building or remove it. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,004 plus a victim surcharge of £200.
Eccles erected the agricultural building at Higher Silcock Farm, Catterall in 2010, having previously consulted Wyre Council about the development. Planning permission was not required for the size of building specified.
However, following investigation, the finished building was found to be far larger than originally described.Eccles pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an enforcement notice under the Town and Country Planning Act.
Eccles had been informed that the building required permission and submitted a retrospective planning application to Wyre Council.
This was refused due to the visual impact on the surrounding countryside and the size of the building being unnecessary for its intended purpose.
In March 2011, the council issued an enforcement notice requiring either the height of the building be reduced or it be removed in its entirety.
Appeals to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government were dismissed and Eccles was ordered to comply with the enforcement notice by August 2012.
He failed to do so and submitted a further planning application and appeal, both of which were refused.
Eccles was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,004, plus a victim surcharge of £200.
Eccles, who lives at Town Croft Farm on New Lane, Claughton on Brock, said he was considering appealing, adding: “We are actually engaged in negotiations with Wyre borough council to gain planning permission.”
Eccles has dairy and arable interests, milking 250 cows and growing some 450 acres of wheat and barley
The Brockholes Arms Auction Mart website notes that : “Part of the business involves haulage and storage of feed.”
Eccles became a Director of the Auction Mart in 1999 and was made Company Secretary in 2003.