Businessman handed huge planning fine and possible jail to appeal

A YORKSHIRE businessman who has been given one of the biggest ever planning fines in British history told the Yorkshire Post he would appeal against the judgement.

Nigel Smith was handed a £250,000 fine at Sheffield Crown Court after a Doncaster Council prosecution and was told by a judge he will go to jail for two years if he fails to pay within 30 days.

But he said he planned to appeal against the huge fine and possible prison sentence, and was also appealing against the way the authority had dealt with earlier requests he had submitted for planning permission.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The council said yesterday that it had taken the 57-year-old to court following “flagrant” breaches of planning law relating to a site known as Manor Farm, in the village of Moss, north of Doncaster.

Planning chiefs said Smith had ignored enforcement notices issued over unauthorised development on the greenfield site, including a caravan, temporary buildings and storage containers.

Lawyers for the council told Sheffield Crown Court on Monday that the enforcement notices were appealed, but that appeal failed and Smith continued his operations on the site in breach of the notice, eventually being fined £2,000 in November 2011.

Sentencing Recorder Michael Hubbard also ordered Smith to pay Doncaster Council’s costs in the case of more than £13,500 and said it was “difficult to imagine such a flagrant breach in defiance of the enforcement notices.”

The elected mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies yesterday welcomed the result saying he was pleased, and added: “This sends a clear message that Doncaster Council will not tolerate people illegally occupying land and using it for unlawful and inappropriate purposes.

“We will always seek to prosecute in these cases”.