Local café owner has been convicted and fined for putting new signs on his shop without planning consent.
Last week the Court ruled the café owner breached planning regulations by placing exterior signs to Cafe NYT, a listed building which is located on North Hill, and so was found guilty and ordered to pay fines of almost £3,000.
This issue has highlighted the importance of seeking planning advice especially in the Colchester town centre where most of the residential and commercial properties are listed or in conservation areas due to the historic importance of our town.
It has been reported the Council made repeated efforts to advise the owner of the planning regulations, however the signs were not removed and no application was made to the Council to retain or alter the signs.
Fiona Bradley, our Planning and Enforcement Manger explains that the erection of unauthorised signs constitutes a criminal offence. As in this case, before commencing court proceedings the Council will usually try to discuss the matter with the person who has erected the signs to have them removed and/or discuss more appropriate signs for a listed building within a conservation area. The conviction and fine could have been avoided if the café owner had taken action and removed the signs and contacted the Council sooner.
If you find yourself in a similar position, Fiona says “Don’t ignore letters or messages from the Council, either respond directly to the Council or seek expert planning advice without delay. This case shows that the Council can and will follow through with court proceedings so burying your head in the sand and ignoring the Council is not a good option”.
Should you require planning advice on signs, listed buildings or any other planning matter please contact Fiona on 01206 239765 or email email@example.com to arrange an appointment.