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Sevenoaks successful in hostel enforcement trial

Words: Laura Edgar
Fined / Shutterstock_410177104

Woolwich Crown Court has fined the owners of a hostel in Swanley £14,000 for failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices.

Sevenoaks District Council issued Bhupinderjeet Kullar and Narinder Kullar with a notice that required them to stop using The Convent of Mercy as a hostel. A second notice required the removal of a wooden shed that had been put up without permission.

The owners did not comply with the notice. The building continued to be used as a hostel until 11 March 2018 until the council obtained a closure order from Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, which came after repeated anti-social behaviour.

In a four day trial beginning on 2 December 2019, Woolwich Crown Court fined Kullar and Kullar, who owned the land, £4,000 and £10,000 in costs.

In August of this year, Mustafa Kemal Mustafa, who ran the hostel, was fined £15,000 for failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice to stop using the building as a hostel.

Alison Salter, planning team manager at Sevenoaks District Council, said: “Mr and Mrs Kullar did not comply with our planning enforcement notices for a number of years. Only by taking action in the courts was it possible to close this unlawful hostel.

“The building was not fit to be a hostel and there were numerous reports of anti-social behaviour associated with its tenants. The safety of our residents is our top priority and thanks to colleagues across the council and partnership working with Kent Police, the Fire Service and the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), we were able bring Mr and Mrs Kullar to justice.

“The £14,000 fine sends a clear message that we will not tolerate people who ride roughshod over the law.”

Image credit | Shutterstock