SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION COSTS LANDOWNER £50,000 FROM PLANNING BREACH

Wokingham Borough Council has won a long fought case against local landowner Felix Cash, who owned an unauthorised caravan site on Nine Mile Ride, with the judge ordering Mr Cash and his company to pay a combined total of more than £50,000 in March 2020. Mr Cash and Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd admitted running foul of planning regulations and were sentenced on 2 March at Reading Crown Court. A Confiscation Order was made for £23,600 against Mr Cash and Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd, with additional fines of £6,000 for two offences (totalling £12,000) and £4,000 respectively. The court also ordered Mr Cash to pay just under £14,000 in costs to Wokingham Borough Council.

Mr Cash is the owner of Pineridge mobile home site on Nine Mile Ride, and the sole director of Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd. Mobile homes first appeared on unauthorised parts of the site in 2009 and the council has been trying to have them removed ever since. In June 2009 and February 2010 the council served enforcement notices on the site to stop using the unauthorised land for mobiles homes, and remove them along with the associated hard-standing and services by June 2015. Council officers regularly visited the site following the June 2015 deadline and saw that very little had changed.

Later visits found some progress but it was not until December 2016 had all of the caravans and hardstanding been removed.   Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “This is a real victory for the council. We have been working to get this land in the countryside put back to its natural state, as open countryside.  I am very pleased that we can now bring this process to a close with such a successful outcome. Planning regulations exist to protect all of us and I hope this sends a clear message that action will be taken against people who are breaking the rules.”