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Unauthorised work taking place near Little Hadham

We were made aware of unauthorised work taking place near Little Hadham on Friday 19 April.

Our officers went down to the site on the same day and issued a stop notice to prevent any further work from taking place. On Saturday we instructed a barrister to obtain a high court mandatory injunction because the unauthorised work had not stopped. The injunction was granted and served on site the same day. 

Update - 5 September 2019

Earlier this year East Herts Council issued a high court injunction on the unauthorised development in Little Hadham. The defendants did not comply with the terms of this injunction and so the case went to court to be decided.

Following a hard fought case by our legal team, today (5 September), HHJ Graham Wood QC delivered his verdict and we are pleased to confirm that the defendants were found in breach of the Injunction and that their application to vary/discharge the Injunction, granted by Mr Justice Lane on 20th April 2019, was dismissed.

The defendants have been ordered to leave the site and failure to do so will be taken into account at their sentencing hearing later this month.

Linda Haysey, Leader, East Herts Council said: "We are delighted with today's outcome. We take unlawful development in our district very seriously and I hope this will deter anyone else from acting without planning permission in future. I would like to thank all those involved for their dedication and hard work on this case."


Unauthorised work taking place near Little Hadham FAQs

What does the injunction mean?

The purpose of the injunction is to cease the unauthorised development and restore the site.

Why can't the police arrest everyone on site for breach of the injunction?

The police cannot do this because it is a civil matter that is being dealt with by the council. Council officers have worked over the bank holiday weekend to try and deal with this as quickly as possible. The police have been working with the council to ensure the safety of everyone affected.

I have contacted the police and they are not helping?

This is a civil matter so the police are not able to help with the unauthorised development.

What if I witness or am affected by a crime?

If you witness or are a victim of a crime, you should report this to the local police in the usual way using 999 if it is an emergency or 101 in all other circumstances. It is also possible to report crime online via the website}

What about the work that has already taken place?

The terms of the injunction clearly state that the site should be returned to its previous condition.

What did the injunction actually say?

It forbids the defendants from using any part of the land for the siting of caravans/mobile homes and/or using the Land for residential development, including the occupation of caravans/mobile homes for residential purposes, storage of vehicles, caravans and residential paraphernalia. It also forbids them from undertaking any development on the Land, as defined in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, without the express grant of planning. This includes the laying of hardcore and creation of hard standing and/or access roads. Further, the injunction requires that the defendants shall remove the hardcore or hard standing created in breach of planning control and restore the land within 7 days of the date of the injunction, and remove all caravans/mobiles homes sited on the Land for residential purposes upon service of the injunction.

Why hasn't the council exercised its power under s.70C Town Country Planning Act 1990 and declined to determine the planning application?

The council do not have the right to use this power in these circumstances. There is no pre-existing enforcement notice (a temporary stop notice is not at enforcement notice) nor is there any planning history of previous refusals of permission on this site. Exercising such a power in these circumstances would be unlawful and would be subject to judicial review. Therefore, the Council were obliged to accept and determine any application for permission. 

Why didn't the Council issue an enforcement notice following the temporary stop notice?

It was not appropriate in these circumstances. Given the immediate nature of the works that took place over the bank holiday weekend and the rate at which they were undertaken, the Council issued a temporary stop notice, when this wasn't complied with an emergency high court injunction was sought and granted.

How do I report environmental health issues such as noise?

Concerns over nuisance such as noise pollution, fumes or smoke the smell of gas can be reported to the council by completing this short form on our website:

Has the planning application been decided?

Yes, the planning application has been decided and the decision was to refuse planning permission for the change of use of land to 10 Gypsy/Traveller pitches, accommodating the siting of 10 mobiles homes and stationing of 10 touring caravans and 10 utility buildings. Formation of access road and hardstandings at land off Chapel Lane, Little Hadham.

For more information, please see the decision notice on our planning portal.

What is happening with the appeal against the decision to refuse planning permission?

The council has received confirmation from the Planning Inspectorate that they have received an appeal in respect of land off Chapel Lane, Little Hadham 3/19/0893/FUL. The procedure for this appeal will likely be in the form of a Public Inquiry with a duration or 3-4 days.

The defendants have been ordered to leave the site, when will this be enforced?

The defendants must leave the site immediately, failure to do so will be drawn to the attention of the Judge when it comes to the sentencing hearing on 26th September and will impact negatively on them. It is not within the council's remit to control when the defendants physically leave the site, this will be a matter for the Judge on the 26th September. The council will be undertaking a site visit nearer to the time of the hearing to check compliance and in order to report its findings to the Judge. 

What will happen at the sentencing hearing on the 26th September?

The defendants will be sentenced in respect of the breaches and if they have not vacated the site by that time this will be addressed by the Judge.

Are the defendants intending to appeal?

The defendants request for leave to appeal has been denied by the Judge. It is open to them to apply directly to the Court of Appeal and they have 21 days to do this from when the decision was handed down (5th September). At present, the council have not been served with any notices of appeal but will of course update if the position changes.


Last updated 13 September 2019