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Rogue trader must demolish his home or go to jail

PUBLISHED: 19:00 03 July 2019

Pine Lodge, in Hazels Lane, Hinton, was being used as a home illegally by Bill Simpson, 61, after he built it as a workshop in 2010 Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

Pine Lodge, in Hazels Lane, Hinton, was being used as a home illegally by Bill Simpson, 61, after he built it as a workshop in 2010 Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

A Suffolk rogue trader is being ordered to demolish his house - or face a prison sentence.

The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bill Simpson, 61, of Hazels Lane, Hinton, was granted permission in 2010 to build a workshop and store on the road, calling it Pine Lodge - but after construction he started living there, breaching the planning regulations.

A planning enforcement notice to evict him was issued in 2016, giving Mr Simpson three months to move out and remove everything he had installed there, including hard-standing being used as a driveway, fencing and the single-storey brick building he lived in.

Three years and multiple council enforcements later, he faces an ultimatum - either demolish the house or end up behind bars for two months.

Councillor David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "We will always take the enforcement of planning rules seriously, as this long-running case shows.

The single-storey building and all the fencing, hardstanding and non-agricultural materials have to be removed by September 3 Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCILThe single-storey building and all the fencing, hardstanding and non-agricultural materials have to be removed by September 3 Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

"In this case the landowner was given a number of opportunities to make amends, however their inaction has resulted in serious consequences."

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Simpson received a suspended sentence back in 2009 after charging one couple £16,000 to repair a broken roof tile on their bungalow.

And in 2015 he was sentenced to 21 months in prison after starting work on a victim's roof without permission and trying to charge over £1,000 for work that should have cost £500.

He was barred from working as a builder in March 2019.

The home Simpson built in Hinton was in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

He appealed against the 2016 eviction notice but had it dismissed by the government's planning inspector.

Simpson was given a two-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, on May 7 at the High Court in London, after admitting to being in contempt of court by not complying with one of the council's enforcement notices.

He avoided another sentence after removing a hardstanding and brick driveway from the property and reseeding turf in April 2019, finally complying with an enforcement notice made five years ago in 2014.

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