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Developer fined for not completing landscaping work

Words: Laura Edgar
Tree planting / Shutterstock_580933222

Housebuilder Fitzpatrick Group has been fined £2,500 after ignoring a legal notice instructing the firm to complete landscaping work at new homes in Rugby.

Rugby Borough Council said it sought prosecution of Mark Fitzpatrick, managing director of the Solihull-based Fitzpatrick Group because repeated requests for the work at Grace Close to be completed were ignored.

A condition attached to the planning permission required tree and hedge-planting to take place after construction of the homes was complete. In February 2019, however, a complaint was filed with the council alleging that the work had not been carried out.

Planning enforcement officers held a site meeting with Fitzpatrick and issued a deadline of the end of June for the landscaping to be finished.

A further inspection by a planning enforcement officer in August found that work had not been done. A letter was sent to Fitzpatrick warning that he faced being issued with a breach of condition notice if the work was not completed within 28 days.

A February 2021 inspection found the landscaping work had still not been completed. Instead, a skip, building materials and equipment were being stored on the land earmarked for tree and hedge-planting. A breach of condition notice on Fitzpatrick was served the following month. He had 28 days to complete the work.

After this notice was ignored, Rugby Borough Council initiated legal action. However, Fitzpatrick did not respond to the court, which found him guilty of breaching the condition notice – an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The magistrate at Warwickshire Justice Centre issued Fitzpatrick with a £2,500 fine and ordered him to pay the council's costs of £487, as well as a victim surcharge of £190.

Jill Simpson-Vince, portfolio holder for growth and investment at Rugby Borough Council, said: “Conditions attached to planning permissions give the council the flexibility to approve applications while ensuring applicants comply with certain obligations and restrictions.

“Applicants cannot pick and choose which conditions to comply with, and our planning enforcement team investigates all suspected breaches and, when necessary, uses the legal powers at our disposal.”

Image credit | Shutterstock