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Two fined £13,000 for building in the historic Hanbury woods

Droitwich Editorial 2nd Jul, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

TWO MEN have been ordered to pay more than £13,000 between them after building in protected ancient Hanbury woodland.

Claude Banham, 61, of Dovercote Road, Bromsgrove, and Michael Banham, 61, of Feckenham Road, Hanbury, pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates’ Court to offences brought by Wychavon District Council.

The pair failed to comply with seven enforcement notices ordering them to remove buildings they had put up in and around Little Goosehill Wood.

It dates back to 2010 when planning officers investigated complaints of work on the special wildlife site.

An investigation found various structures had been built, materials, including bricks and rubble, were also being stored without permission and a static caravan was also been used to live in. Along with those, there were pigstys, a fire engine and storage containers.

Two years later, in 2012, complaints were made about greenhouses being put up and an extension to one of the existing buildings which did not have planning permission.

The Banhams did submit retrospective applications in a bid to get approval but they were rejected and appeals to the Planning Inspectorate were dismissed.

It was then, in 2013, when enforcement documents were issued against the pair following notices telling them their work was illegal and they had to stop.

The presence of Great Crested Newts on the site then delayed the process by more than a year and, after that was resolved in July 2014, the Banhams had six weeks to comply with the notices or face legal action.

Visits in September and February of this year confirmed not all of the work had been carried out and that led to the prosecution.

In defence, the court heard a lot of the work had been done and more had been done since February.

Magistrates were also told Michael Banham, now the sole owner of the land, wanted to submit a planning application for permission to retain some of the existing buildings.

Graeme Duerden, Wychavon’s development control manager, said: “We’re pleased with the severity of the sentence following what has been a lengthy and frustrating process.

“This sends a strong message that you cannot flout planning rules and get away with it.”

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