25th Sep, 2020

Harvington man to pay £1,700 for 'blighting his neighbourhood' with run down cars in his overgrown garden

A HARVINGTON man has been ordered to pay £1,700 for causing a blight on his neighbourhood by storing disused, run down cars at the front of his property and allowing it to become severely overgrown.

Phillip Cottrill, 73, of Hughes Close was found guilty by District Judge Nigel Cadbury at Worcester Magistrates’ Court for failing to comply with a section 215 notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

He was fined £200, ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Wychavon District Council took the decision to prosecute Mr Cottrill after repeated attempts were made over several years to get him to remove three unused cars in a poor condition being stored outside his home.

The building itself also required maintenance and the land around it needed tidying.

Wychavon first received complaints about the site back in January 2013 but after meeting with Mr Cottrill to discuss the situation it was decided it was not appropriate to take formal enforcement action at that stage.

The case was re-opened in June 2016 following more complaints because the site’s condition had deteriorated further.

Officers warned Mr Cottrill Wychavon would take formal action unless he rectified the situation as the property was having ‘a detrimental effect on the amenity of the local neighbourhood’.

Following further visits and another meeting with Mr Cottrill which resulted in no progress to clear up the land, the council issued the section 215 notice in November 2017.

The order gave Mr Cottrill until March 29 the following year to remove the cars, repair various pieces of rotten timber on the property and cutback overgrown vegetation.

On March 28 last year Mr Cottrill contacted Wychavon to outline his personal circumstances and asked for the notice to be put on hold or cancelled, which was refused due to the amount of time he had been given to deal with the matter.

A final site visit in August confirmed the notice had not been complied with, resulting in court action.

In his defence Mr Cottrill stated he had made an interim agreement with Wychavon to cover the cars up and cutback the grass, but it was pointed out not only had he not kept to this agreement but those arrangements were not a protection from prosecution.

District Judge Cadbury found Mr Cottrill guilty and told him if he was unhappy with the notice he should have appealed. He also said it was clear Wychavon had ‘bent over backwards’ before deciding to prosecute.

Mr Cottrill announced he intended to appeal the decision.

Gary Williams, Wychavon District Council’s head of planning and infrastructure, said: “Prosecution is always a last resort for us and Mr Cottrill could have saved himself a significant sum of money had he worked with us to find a solution.

“I hope this case sends a clear message that Wychavon will act in appropriate cases to protect its communities from blight and harm.”

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