A COVENTRY restaurant owner has been fined a record £12,000 for failing to remove a marquee in breach of planning regulation.
A large marquee at the Farmhouse Restaurant on Beechwood Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry, prompted complaints from residents.
Coventry City Council served the owners a Planning Enforcement Notice to remove the marquee, which has been in use for the last two years.
Residents complained of its ‘untidy and unattractive’ appearance in such a prominent position.
The council says it can be viewed from all around, including from Hearsall Common.
An investigation established that the owner had not sought planning permission for the marquee.
It was found that there were no ‘permitted development rights’, which would enable the marquee to be erected without planning approval – even for a temporary period.
Enforcement officers informed owner Mr Mohammed Basharat, 51, the marquee was illegal and he was given 28 days to remove it.
A subsequent planning application and appeal were refused. And despite several further warnings, the marquee remains in place.
Mr Basharat was summoned to court on December 12, where he pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an Enforcement Notice.
He was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay about £1,500 in council costs, plus a £170 victim surcharge at Coventry Magistrates Court.
It is the largest fine ever imposed following action by Coventry Council.
He also agreed to remove the marquee from the site by January 18 next year.
Deputy leader of the council Abdul Khan said: “I support the court’s decision to fine Mr Basharat, who was made fully aware of the consequences of ignoring a Planning Enforcement Notice.
“He was given plenty of time to remove the marquee but continued to ignore decisions by the Planning Committee, Planning Officers and the Planning Inspectorate.
“Good design, consideration for the community nearby and visual amenity are all factors when Planning Committee considers granting planning permission.
“A marquee that was constructed this way would not have been considered acceptable.
“We take breaches of planning very seriously and will always act when people have broken the rules.”