£250,000 fine and prison threat for man who flouted planning laws

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A MAN has been slapped with fines and costs totalling more than a quarter of a million pounds for ‘flagrant’ breaches of planning law.

Nigel Smith, aged 57, of Manor Farm, Moss, was convicted after pleading guilty to breaching an enforcement notice issued by Doncaster Council on five occasions in late 2011 and 2012.

In 2009, Smith laid hardcore to form a compound and brought in a residential caravan at the countryside site. He later added portable offices and a number of shipping storage containers - all without planning permission.

In response, Doncaster Council served an enforcement notice asking him to stop. He appealed, but it was upheld in the council’s favour and, when he failed to comply, the authority took him to court where he was fined £2,000.

Despite the fine, Smith carried on his operations - and has now been sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court where he was convicted of breaching the notice on five occasions.

Mr Recorder Hubbard QC fined him a quarter of a million pounds or ordered him to face a two-year prison sentence if he doesn’t pay up within 30 days.

Handing out one of the biggest ever planning fines in the UK, the judge said it was ‘difficult to imagine such a flagrant breach’.

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies said: “It sends a clear message that Doncaster Council will not tolerate people illegally occupying land and using it for unlawful and inappropriate purposes.”