A PROPERTY developer has been fined thousands of pounds after converting Evesham’s former tax office into nine flats without planning permission.
Allworks Properties Ltd pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court last Friday (November 27) where Mr Justice Cartwright fined the firm £1,000, as well as costs of £3,470 and a further £18,300 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
In a landmark case for Wychavon District Council, the prosecution came about after an investigation found that part of Lower Keys House which should have remained as office space had been converted into nine flats.
The court heard the firm had only received planning permission back in April 2013 to build four flats.
The council then in January this year served a notice on Allworks Properties Ltd to turn the flats back into offices within six months, when planning officers visited again in August the building was still being used for residential purposes, resulting in the case being sent to court.
Graeme Duerden, Development Control Manager at Wychavon District Council, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this prosecution.
“This was a flagrant and deliberate breach of planning conditions that we simply could not allow to happen.
“The awarding of the £18,300 under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 means that the court has confiscated the profits that Allworks Properties Ltd had made from the nine residential flats.”
The flats which didn’t gain planning permission will now have to be converted back into office space; otherwise the firm could face further prosecution.