Jail threat in Doncaster planning saga

The illegal business park that was being run by Nigel Smith in Moss.
The illegal business park that was being run by Nigel Smith in Moss.

A Doncaster man previously handed a record planning fine for his illegal business park has been given 28 days to clear the site or go to jail.

The High Court in London sentenced Nigel Smith to a year’s imprisonment, suspended on the proviso that he does not leave as much as a “granule of hardcore” on the site near Askern.

It is the latest in a string of court appearances for 57-year-old Nigel Smith, also known as Nigel Weston-Smith, who has been running a makeshift business park and residential site on land he occupies off Moss Road, Moss. Last January he received a £250,000 fine for refusing to clear eyesore property.

In 2009 Smith laid hard core to form a compound and brought in a residential caravan on Manor Farm, which is a green field site. He added portable offices for businesses and a number of shipping storage containers, but had no planning permission.

Doncaster Council served an enforcement notice requiring that he cease these activities. Smith appealed but it was dismissed.

When Smith failed to comply with the notice, Doncaster Council took him to court in November 2011 for failing to comply with the notice on two occasions. He was fined £2,000 but carried on in contravention of the enforcement notice.

In January Smith pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to breaching an enforcement notice on five occasions in late 2011 and 2012 and received the biggest planning fine in Doncaster within living memory, and one of the biggest ever in the UK.

Despite being ordered to clear the site, Smith has still failed to do so and this week was handed a one year sentence, suspended if he clears the site within 28 days. The judge said he would be “taking a trip to Pentonville prison” if there was so much as one “granule of hardcore left” on the site.

Mayor Ros Jones said: “Doncaster Council will be monitoring the site very closely and reporting back once the 28 days have expired.”