Loughton man fined for illegal driveway

Written on . Posted in Building control, Business, Community, Loughton, Media, Our activities, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

At Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 8th February 2018 Mr Ivor Crandon of Loughton pleaded guilty after failing to comply with the requirements of a Planning Enforcement Notice served on him in July 2012.

Landscape

Failure to comply with notice

The Notice required him to remove a concrete drive from his land, 4 Ripley View Loughton.

Following an unsuccessful appeal to a planning inspector and subsequent extensions of time granted to him by the planning authority, the notice should have been complied with by 1 September 2017.

An inspection on 24 October 2017 by enforcement officers revealed that the notice had not been complied with.

Failed appeal

At an appeal in Chelmsford Crown Court on 13 April 2018 against the sentence imposed by the Magistrates on 8 February 2018 Mr Crandon was fined £2400.

He is also liable to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £508.26 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Removal of drive way

Mr Crandon stated that he is currently instructing arboriculture experts to prepare a method statement for ensuring that trees protected by tree preservation orders are not adversely affected by the removal of the driveway.

Check for planning permission

Chigwell man guilty of damaging protected tree

Written on . Posted in Business, Chigwell, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Media, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

At Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 5 April 2018 Mr Vinod Kumar Pandhi of Chigwell Essex pleaded guilty to causing or permitting the cutting down a hornbeam tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged hornbeam Chigwell

Causing damage to a protected tree

September 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified that a hornbeam tree had been cut down in the garden of 12 Tomswood Road Chigwell.

The tree was protected by a Tree Preservation Order made in 2009 and no consent had been given for the work carried out.

Failure to provide details

Interviewed under caution Mr Pandhi  stated that he was unaware that the tree was protected and believed it to be causing damage to his house, although no usual investigations had been carried out to verify this.

Mr Pandhi claimed had asked workmen carrying out work in a neighbour’s garden to cut down the tree in his property, but failed to provide details of the contactors to Epping Forest District Council to enable them to carry out further investigation, with a view to also prosecuting those directly responsible for carrying out the work.

Over £1,800 in fines

Having pleaded guilty Mr Pandhi was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £813.73 and a victim surcharge of £100. The fine had been reduced by one third as a result of Mr Pandhi having pleaded guilty at the first hearing and took account of his current finances.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Pair fined for eyesore garden

Written on . Posted in Community, Environmental health, Loughton, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Mr Salinder Minhas and Mrs Parminder Minhas of 3 Alderton Close Loughton Essex were successfully prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council in April 2018 for failing to comply with Notices served on them under Section 215 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 requiring them to clear rubbish from the front and rear of their property.

3 Alderton Close Loughton Essex

Failure to remove building materials

At Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 5th April 2018 Mr. & Mrs Minhas each pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to comply with the Notice served on them on 23rd November 2017.

The notice required them to remove building materials, paint pots, plastic items and cardboard from their front and rear gardens and from the flat roof of the garage which were adversely affecting the visual amenity of the area. They should have complied by 21st December 2017.

Over £800 in fines

The Magistrates fined Mr Minhas £110 and ordered him to pay £308 towards the Council’s prosecution costs together with the statutory victim surcharge of £30.

Mrs Minhas was fined £100 and ordered to pay costs of £308 and a Victim Surcharge of £30. The fines had been reduced by one third due to Mr & Mrs Minhas pleading guilty at the first hearing and also taking into account their current financial situation.

Given every opportunity to clear the land

Having seen the photographs taken by the Council the Magistrate told Mr & Mrs Minhas that he was not surprised that neighbours had complained about the state of the property and the Council had quite rightly brought the prosecution having given them every opportunity to clear the land.

Mr & Mrs Minhas informed the court that they would now fully comply with the Notice.

Failure to do so renders them liable to a further prosecution with a possible fine of up to £100 for every day that they do not comply from 5th April 2018.

Report it

If you suspect any planning breaches get in contact with our team via email

Your rubbish, your responsibility

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Media, Our countryside, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

If you give your rubbish to a rogue trader who dumps your rubbish illegally, you could end up with a criminal record and face an unlimited fine. Fly-tipping drains more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money each year in Essex.

Your rubbish is your responsibility and it’s a #CrimeNotToCare.

Check to protect yourself

Don’t fall foul of the law, here’s some tips to help you dispose of your waste correctly

  1. Ask to see a waste carrier registration number
    If you use a trader to remove your waste ask to see their waste carrier registration number issued by the Environment Agency. It is illegal for them to take your waste if they don’t have a licence. Check their credentials here.
  2. Get a receipt
    Make sure you get a receipt or transfer notice before your waste is taken away. Businesses that produce commercial waste must keep records for 2 years.
  3. Ask where your waste is going
    Don’t be afraid to ask where your waste is going and request paperwork that shows where it will be disposed. A legitimate waste carrier will not object to this questioning.
  4. Be careful with your waste
    Protect yourself by being careful with your waste and always keep a record of who you give your waste to. Never leave rubbish, such as old washing machines or scrap metal on your drive or in the street as it could end up in the wrong hands. You can donate working items to reuse organisations or charity shops.

How to report fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste.

Basildon woman guilty of housing fraud

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Media, Out and about, Performance, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Uncategorized, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Fadimana Altinsoy of Basildon Essex was successfully prosecuted by Epping Forest District Council in March 2018 of three offences under the Fraud act 2006 and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime act 2002.

Landscape

Change of plea

Initially pleading not guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court in February 2017, the Magistrates declined jurisdiction and transferred the matter to Chelmsford Crown Court.

Ms Altinsoy maintained her not guilty pleas at a number of hearings in that court but on the first day of a trial listed for six days in January 2018 she changed her pleas to guilty.

Fraudulent applications

The basis of the prosecution was when applying for Council housing in 2003 Fadimana Altinsoy had failed to declare her ownership of two properties jointly owned by herself and other relatives in Forest Gate London E7 and Grays in Essex RM17.

She was granted tenancy of a property in Copperfield Chigwell 22 January 2007, the following day she completed a further Housing Application form seeking a move from a flat to a house and again failed to state that she jointly owned the properties.

Had the Council been aware of her ownerships, she would not have been given the tenancy of the property at Copperfield Chigwell.

Home ownership grant

June 2010 Ms Altinsoy applied for a home ownership grant to assist her in purchasing a private property and again failed to reveal that she had an interest in two other properties.

Epping Forest District Council awarded Ms Altinsoy one of six available grants of £28,000 which she used to purchase a property in Basildon, SS13 in June 2011.

However having not been entitled to the tenancy of the property in Chigwell, she was  therefore not entitled to have received the home ownership grant.

Over £40,000 worth of fines

After the hearing in January Ms Altinsoy agreed to pay the sum of home ownership grant £28,000 back to the Council together with the prosecution costs of £12,500 before 5 March 2018 and a sentence hearing was fixed for 9th March 2018.

On that date she was given a 2 year suspended sentence, together with 200 hours unpaid work with a probation supervision order for 12 months.

Do you think someone is committing fraud?

Don’t let them get away with it. You can report it anonymously. You don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.

Landlord fined £21,575 for illegal HMO

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Epping Forest District Council successfully prosecuted and fined Mr Veli Bunul £21,575, when found operating an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) and breaching legislation designed to protect tenants.

HMO Licence

The Council was called to inspect a three storey family town house in Tillingham Court Waltham Abbey, found to be occupied by three separate families, each with young children, all sharing one kitchen and two bathrooms.

Potential tragedy

Housing 11 occupants, the property was overcrowded, had inadequate fire precautions or a safe means of escape in event of an emergency.

Basildon Magistrates court was particularly concerned about these failings which could have potentially led to lives being at risk and tragic circumstances.

The Court heard that Mr Bunul of Chase Side, London E14 had ignored all of Epping Forest District Council’s warnings about his responsibilities to licence the property and his obligation to make it safe.

He alleged he was unaware that the property was being occupied by several families, claiming someone else collected the rent on his behalf. The court did not find this a reasonable excuse and so carried his conviction alongside a hefty fine.

Zero tolerance

Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou said, “We will not tolerate landlords who rent properties which fail to meet standards.  The Council has a commitment to ensure that private landlords in the Epping Forest district do not take financial advantage of vulnerable tenants and put their lives at risk.  We will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who show a disregard for the law and their responsibilities towards occupants”.

New licensing rules

The Government are bringing in an extension to the  current licensing regime. From 1 April 2018, any property with five or more people from two or more households will require a licence regardless of how many floors there are in the property.

Landlords must comply with licence conditions to ensure properties are safe for the amount of people occupying them. In addition, minimum space requirements are to be imposed to prevent exploitation by overcrowding.

Advice to Landlords

Landlords that currently operate a licensable HMO in Epping Forest District (3 or more storeys, occupied by 5 or more people living as 2 or more households) but do not currently hold a licence should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team immediately to avoid prosecution.

Anyone operating such an HMO without the appropriate licence is committing an offence, risks a criminal record and an unlimited fine on summary conviction.

Other landlords operating or thinking of operating an HMO that will fall under the new licensing regime from 1 April 2018 are encouraged to contact the Private Sector Housing Team for further information and advice.

Advice to tenants

If you think you may be living in a property that requires a licence and one is not displayed in the property, or you are concerned about the property conditions, please contact the Private Sector Housing team on the details below.

Contact

Pair found guilty of damaging protected oak trees

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Crime and safety, Democracy, Environmental health, Media, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Private housing, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your money

Mr Mark William Wright of Abridge and Mr Danny James Swift of Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing, or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Unauthorized works

In June 2017 tree and landscape officers were notified of work that had been carried out to the branches of 2 oak trees on land adjacent to Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex.

Officers were aware in March 2017 permission had been granted for limited work to be carried out to the trees, but upon inspection in June they found branches on both oaks had been far more excessively cut than authorized.

This ultimately caused serious damage to both trees and increases the risk of decay. No consent would have been given for the extent of the work carried out.

Further investigation  

Further investigation revealed that permitted work had been carried out to the trees in May 2017 by council contractors, who had spoken to Mr Wright at that time and informed him that the trees were the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

When interviewed under caution both confirmed Mr Wright had employed Mr Swift to carry out the unauthorized work and that neither had checked with the council as to whether the trees were protected.

Damaged Oak trees Abridge

Over £3000 worth of fines

8 February 2018 at Chelmsford Magistrates both Mr Mark William Wright of Tudor Oak 9a London Road Abridge Essex and Mr Danny James Swift of Highfield Road Collier Row Romford Essex were each found guilty of causing or permitting works to 2 oak trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order without the authorisation of Epping Forest District Council.

Having attended court although leaving before the hearing, the Magistrates accepted that Mr Wright had intended to plead guilty and he was fined £440 for each tree and ordered that he pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

Mr Swift was fined £660 for each tree and ordered to pay a contribution towards the Council’s prosecution costs of £600.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact

Businesses beware bogus Council Officers

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Epping, Food safety, Licensing, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Prosecutions, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Businesses beware, bogus Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers have visited businesses across Essex, issuing fake on the spot fines for non-compliance and asking for annual fee payments in cash.

Council tax scam warning

The Council has received 3 reports of individuals falsely presenting themselves as Epping Forest District Council Environmental Health Officer’s to food establishments within the Waltham Abbey area.

The imposters demanded the business owners pay fines for not complying with regulations.

Licensing scam

Licenced businesses within Essex have also received visits from individuals pretending to be Council Licensing Officers, requesting licence fees be paid in cash.

These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.

Real Council Officers

Real Environmental Health Officers and any of the Council’s Licensing or Enforcement Officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.

On the back of their badges, you will find a list of their authorisations and a telephone number, which you can call to verify they are who they say they are. Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.

Environmental Health Officers and Licensing Officers will not ask you to pay an on the spot fine or take cash from you.

If a scammer calls

If you are in any doubt as to whether someone demanding money from you is legitimate, you should contact the Council as soon as possible to check his or her identity. Do not pay them.

Report it

If you suspect you have been visited by a bogus caller please contact the Council and the Police as soon as possible.

Claypit Hill fly tip led to arrest and prosecution

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Environmental health, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Prosecutions, Recycling and waste, Regulations, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Mr Loredan Ilias of Gascoyne House, London, was ordered to pay a fine and costs amounting to £1686.81 after pleading guilty to flytipping on forest land in Claypit Hill, Waltham Abbey.

Waltham Abbey Fly tipping

Evidence gathered by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhood team led to a prosecution in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 14 December 2017.

Found guilty

Mr IIias pleaded guilty to the offence of fly tipping paving stones, rubble and roofing material. He had failed to attend a number of hearings in 2016, leading to a warrant being issued for his arrest. Mr Ilias admitted to fly tipping from a Mercedes Sprinter van on 10 January 2016.

The Magistrates stated that it was a serious offence and a reckless act in a place of Special Scientific Interest.

Fined and prosecuted

He was ordered to pay a fine of £739 together with the Council’s prosecution costs of £724.81 and a Victim Surcharge of £73. The Magistrates also ordered Mr Ilias to pay compensation for clearance of the waste of £150 to the Corporation of London.

‘Blight on environment’

Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “Fly tipping is a selfish and criminal act and a blight on the environment. We recognise it is a growing problem across Essex but it will never be tolerated in Epping Forest and we will continue to pursue the offenders. Those convicted of breaking the law in this way can expect to receive heavy fines.”

Further information

Pair fined for damaging tree

Written on . Posted in Community, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Private housing, Prosecutions, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe of Chingford was fined £1,850 after pleading guilty to causing or permitting unauthorised work to a tree in a conservation area.

Sycamore 10 High St

Tree within a conservation area

In June, officers were notified that branches of a sycamore tree situated within the grounds of 10 High Street Roydon had been cut back, where they overhung on to the neighbouring property at number 2 High Street.

Standing within the Roydon conservation area a 6 week notice of any intended work to the tree should have been provided. Such a notice would have revealed that consent for the extent of the works would have not been granted in any event.

No checks for consent

Further investigation revealed Mrs Helen Kelly–Howe, a director of the company owning 10 High Street instructed tree surgeon Mr John McAllister to cut the branches back to the boundary.

No checks had been made to find out if the tree was protected and neither sought consent to carry out the works undertaken.

£2,430 worth of fines

Tree surgeon Mr McAllister was fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £30.

The Magistrates stated that Mrs Kelly-Howe had a greater role in the matter and was fined £1,000 ordered to pay a contribution of £750 towards the Council’s prosecution costs plus a victim surcharge of £100.

More information

For any inquiries regarding tree protection orders (TPOs) and conservation areas please contact