A couple who bought a terraced home that was constructed without planning consent have failed in a High Court appeal against an enforcement notice requiring its demolition. Arguments that the notice was disproportionate as the property had been purchased in good faith were rejected by the court.
Dacorum Borough Council issued the notice in 2010 after becoming aware that Craig and Lorraine Pitblado’s home in Felden, near Hemel Hempstead, had been built in breach of planning control. The couple argued that they had purchased the property in good faith and unaware that it lacked planning permission. It was also submitted that the notice’s one-year compliance period should be extended to three years in light of the stress and anxiety the couple had endured.
However, in dismissing the appeal against a planning inspector’s decision to uphold the notice, Mr Justice Lindblom ruled that the procedure adopted was neither unfair nor prejudicial to the home owners. The couple had chosen to rely on assertions about their good faith and the spectre of personal hardship without putting forward evidence that would have made those assertions good. Quashing the enforcement notice or allowing further time for compliance with it would be ‘disproportionate and unjustified’, he ruled.