The Lake District National Park Authority, as the Planning Authority for the Lake District, works tirelessly to ensure that all new developments within the park boundary are sympathetic to its special landscape. When this doesn’t happen it can result in enforcement action being taken, which can amount to significant fines.
Mark Kidd, Chair of the Lake District National Park Authority’s Development Management Committee comments: “The Lake District is valued by people across the country for its spectacular landscape and outstanding beauty. We work hard to ensure that the area is protected from inappropriate developments, and we are among the most active authorities nationally when it comes to planning enforcement notices.”
Failing to comply with three planning enforcement notices has left a Lake District holiday park with fines and costs of over £126,000 following prosecution by the National Park Authority.
Crake Valley Park pleaded guilty to not complying with three planning enforcement notices issued by the Lake District National Park Authority against unlawful developments on their land.
The first enforcement notice was issued in November 2017 following unauthorised installation of two gas tanks and two concrete pads. Retrospective permission was refused and a subsequent appeal to the Secretary of State dismissed. An enforcement notice was served but not complied with.
A second enforcement notice was served in March 2020 following the unauthorised installation of lighting posts. Retrospective permission was again sought and refused, and an appeal was dismissed. The notice was only complied with after the national park authority brought prosecution proceedings.
A third enforcement notice was served in November 2020 following the construction of an unlawful residential unit. Retrospective planning permission had again been refused, and an appeal against the enforcement notice was dismissed by the Secretary of State. However, that enforcement notice was also not complied with, and the Lake District National Park Authority commenced court action.
In judgment at Carlisle Crown Court on 16 November 2023, Mr Recorder Shaw stated that: “The prosecution comes about because of a sequence of enforcement notices issued against the company and its directors, that all of the defendants chose to ignore.
“These are extremely serious breaches with aggravating elements for the first and third breach in that they continue unabated, as far as the Crown is concerned.”
Passing sentence, the court ordered fines and costs totalling £126,200 to be paid.
Victim surcharges of 10 per cent (totalling £9,200) were also ordered to be paid. The court highlighted that if the unlawful developments were not removed the National Park Authority could bring further prosecution proceedings.
Responding to the court’s decision Mark Kidd, Chair of the Lake District National Park Authority’s Development Control Committee said:
“We are pleased that the court recognised the ongoing nature of the offences and the profits being made from these illegal developments in its sentencing. Hopefully, we will now see the landowners taking prompt action to comply with their enforcement notices as the law requires.”
“The significant fines in this case should serve as a warning to other developers that undertaking unlawful development in the Lake District can have extremely serious consequences.”
This is the Lake District National Park Authority’s fourth successful prosecution for planning offences this year.
In April, a Lake District farmer was landed with a fine and costs of almost £11,000 for an unauthorised holiday let near Threlkeld and a Windermere business received fines for felling protected trees without permission.
Meanwhile in October a Windermere man was left with fines and costs of almost £5000 after illegally damaging a protected tree on his land whilst undertaking building works.