Chelmsford Council wins court order over “repeated breaches of planning control”

A man has less than 10 weeks to restore green land in Chelmsford that has been used unlawfully to dump waste or he faces going to prison.

Wayne Mixture has until 4pm on July 29 to return land off Damases Lane in Boreham to “its former condition”.

The order from a High Court judge has been welcomed by Chelmsford City Council which brought the claim in conjunction with Braintree District Council which requires the defendant to remedy what are described as “serious, repeated and flagrant breaches” of planning control which have occurred at the land.

It follows proceedings against Mr Mixture which began in 2017 when he illegally sited caravans on the land.

The order from Justice Saini follows a separate decision to jail Mr Mixture in January 2023 for 13 months for failing to comply with two enforcement notices around the dumping of commercial and household waste. This included plastics, paper, and fabric, as well as construction and demolition waste.

The defendant was released from prison and placed on licence in May 2023. A remediation order was also made which was to be complied with by March 31, but was not done so by Mr Mixture.

Judge Justice Saini said in his remarks: “His conduct indicates a wilful, and flagrant, disregard for the integrity of the planning system.”

He added: “Standing back, in my judgement, an injunction is necessary and expedient because of all the above factors, including the clear conflict with the development plan policies and national policies. An injunction will uphold the integrity of the planning system as conventional enforcement measures are not likely to be effective in preventing further breaches or in bringing the breach to an end.

“As the history shows, the claimants have attempted to remedy the breaches of planning control through several enforcement notices over a considerable period of time, but these have not been effective. On the facts, where there have been repeated failures to comply with planning enforcement notices and disregard for authority, an injunction appears to be the sole route for securing compliance. An injunction was sought by the claimants as the last resort.”

The main element of the injunction means by July 29 Mr Mixture has to cease use of the land for storage and remove any caravans or mobile homes and any hardstanding, hardcore, bitumen gravel or concrete bases on it.

He also has to “demolish the buildings erected on the land in breach of planning control and remove all associated materials, rubbish, waste, rubble etc associated with their construction and removal and restore the land to its former condition by reseeding the land with native grass seed where this has been removed.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “Chelmsford City Council is pleased to have been successful, along with Braintree District Council, in securing a final injunction order against Mr Mixture relating to repeated breaches of planning control at Damases Farm in Boreham, including unauthorised residential occupation.

“Mr Mixture must now comply with the conditions of the order by July 29 2024, which include the removal of any caravans, mobile homes, vehicles and equipment; demolishing the buildings and removing the hardstanding; and to cease using the site for storage.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter