An architect from Gillingham has been left more than seven thousand pounds out of pocket after continually ignoring a council notice concerning substantial changes to his property.

This is the second time Sandip Chudha has had to pay out for disobeying the same enforcement notice regarding his house in College Avenue. Despite the planning enforcement notice first being issued in 2008 and Chudha being given numerous opportunities to comply without court action, he continued to ignore council letters delivered to his address and several others linked to him.

He was first prosecuted in February 2012 after, without planning permission, Chudha added a rear extension with a balcony, raised the boundary wall and constructed an additional building in the back garden. On this occasion Medway Magistrates fined him £1000 and costs of £600 in his absence. He had made previous efforts to comply with the enforcement notice as he returned the property to a single household after having converted it into two flats. However the extension, boundary wall and additional building remained, which consequently resulted in court action.

These changes are thought to adversely affect the amenity of the area and adjoining occupiers. For continued failure to comply with a planning enforcement notice, which required him return the property to its previous state and demolish the new building in the garden, the 34-year-old was fined £3000, charged £2626.71 costs as well as a £15 victim surcharge when he appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court on 2 April. He told the court that the management of the property had been left to his father and that he knew nothing about it until bailiffs arrived to collect unpaid fines. The court heard however that Medway Council had been in frequent contact with Chudha’s father about the situation.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Jane Chitty said: “This case shows that enforcement notices are not simply forgotten after the first conviction. “This man could have avoided court by taking action when he first received council correspondence. “Everyone is subject to planning law and it is a wise move to contact our planning department when making changes to a property.”

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