A husband and wife who jointly own a block of flats in Waddon have been found guilty of failing to comply with a council enforcement notice ordering that the block be demolished.
The husband was found guilty, at Croydon crown court earlier this month of non-compliance with an enforcement notice. His wife had earlier been found guilty of the same offence after standing trial in November 2015.
Croydon crown court heard the enforcement notice was first issued to the previous owner of the development – a block of nine flats in Theobald Road, Waddon – in April 2010 after it was found not to have been built in accordance with the planning permission granted by the council.
Despite repeated pursuing by the council, the former owners failed to comply with the notice before putting the property up at auction, where it was bought by the couple in 2013.
The council contacted the couple directly to inform them that, as the new owners, it was now their responsibility to comply with the notice and demolish the block of flats. “But this was ignored and no action was taken, leaving Croydon council with no option but to take legal action” said a council spokeswoman.
Judge Peter Gower, bailed the pair, adjourning the sentencing pending the outcome of confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Cllr Alison Butler, Croydon’s cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, said: “It doesn’t matter whether you are a big developer or a private individual, the same planning rules apply.
“I am pleased these owners have been found guilty of failing to comply with the enforcement notice issued and this case shows if you break the rules, the council will pursue you until the relevant action is taken – we will not give up.
“The court proceedings do not affect the status of the enforcement notice, it still stands and I urge the couple to take action and demolish the building.”
A council spokeswoman told News From Crystal Palace: “There were a number of delays due to the husband suffering ill health, but they were prosecuted separately because the wife is the freeholder and owner of three of the nine flats and the husband is the long leaseholder of the remaining six flats.
“It came to light during the trial of the wife that the husband was liable in accordance with section 336 of the Town and Country Act 1990 (as amended) as the long lease holder of six flats. (Source: Croydon council press release)