House built illegally in conservation area demolished by council
A three-bedroom house built illegally in a conservation area has been demolished by a council following a 14-year legal battle.
The chalet-style timber bungalow was originally built in 2002 without planning permission in Hollow Street, Chislet, Kent, and since then the owner has replaced it with a brick structure, extended it and added three caravans to the site.
Canterbury City Council has taken action to demolish the property after serving enforcement notices requiring the owner to remove the building and the caravans from the countryside site which is restricted to agricultural use.
The buildings have now been cleared and top-soiled returning it to its intended state of farmland.
Ian Brown, assistant director of planning and regeneration, said: "Demolishing a house is a highly unusual step for us to take, but this was a flagrant breach of planning law and when all other avenues open to us have been exhausted, it is the only action left. It should be seen as a clear sign that we will not tolerate unauthorised development in our district.
"We are very confident that the widely held public view is that if buildings do go up without planning permission, they expect us to tackle such breaches. Chislet Parish Council has fully supported the action we took.
"We made extensive efforts to resolve the matter, but were left with no choice but to demolish the property. We tried to work with the owner to find alternative accommodation for him and his wife. Our housing officers wrote to him and visited but he declined our offers of help and made his own rehousing arrangements."