Defiance of planning laws does not go unpunished and the courts will not relent until compliance is achieved. In one case, a farmer who built a mock Tudor castle in the green belt without planning consent was handed a three-month suspended jail term for his repeated failure to demolish it.
The farmer hid the four-bedroom property behind hay bales for four years in a bid to escape the attention of planners. However, after his deception was uncovered, he was served with enforcement notices which he challenged without success before a planning inspector, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He later consented to the making of a court order, requiring demolition, but had failed to comply with it.
After the local council launched proceedings, the High Court found that his defiance was intentional. He had committed 11 breaches of the order and had treated the planning system and the Court with contempt. It was time for the breaches of planning control to be remedied and he was warned that, if he continued his disobedience, the suspended prison sentence would be activated.