Mr Halil Kanteper of Stoke Newington Road in London has been fined £1,200 for carrying out unauthorised building works to the listed building at 309 High Street in Epping, known as Poppy’s Café and the first floor of that building.
He pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates court on 15 November 2018. He was ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £120.
Substantial unauthorised work
Consent for an extension and conversion of the first floor into 2 flats and for a replacement shop front at the property was granted in 2016 and 2017. On 15 August 2017 we received reports that work being carried out to the listed building may be more extensive than agreed.
Council officers visited the property the same day and it was immediately clear that substantial unauthorised work had been carried out, including walls being stripped of their historic lath and plaster, ceilings floors and joists removed in their entirety and stud walls being removed.
Mr Kanteper, the builder for the property, admitted carrying out the work without the knowledge of the owners. He told us he believed the work was required due to a leak in the roof causing substantial damage to the building.
No evidence of this was supplied to us and our senior conservation officer had not seen any evidence of this when visiting the property on several occasions prior to the work being carried out. In her opinion any leak would not have resulted in so much harm being caused to justify the amount of unauthorised work being needed.
A criminal offence
Councillor John Phillip, responsible for Planning, said: “Listed building status is meant to protect the historical interest of a building. It is a criminal offence to carry out any building works without the correct authorisations from the local authority. Here at Epping Forest District Council we take such an offence very seriously and will seek prosecution if necessary.”
“People who take it upon themselves to carry out unauthorised works without consulting the local conservation officer as in this case, can result in significant damage to the character and historical interest of the building.”
Works are being carried out now in line with new planning approvals and it is hoped the café will be able to reopen in the near future.