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Council acts to clear up untidy village site

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

By Leslie Jackson

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ACTION to clear land at Sheepwash near Caverswall of items including caravans, machinery and vehicles has been taken by the district council after the land owner failed to obey enforcement notices requiring him to clean up the area.

Michael Martin, of Old Sheepwash Cottages, Sheepwash, near Caverswall, was first issued with an untidy land notice seeking removal of items and materials from the land in October 2010. but ignored it.

An Enforcement Notice was then issued in March 2011 against the unauthorised use of the land after Mr Martin began living there in a touring caravan alongside animals including cats, dogs, horses, pigs, hens, cockerels and geese.

This required him to remove items and stop using the land to store such items, keep animals or use it as residential caravan site.

He again failed to comply with this Notice and, iIn March 2012, he was fined £250 following prosecution by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. He was given a further two months to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Notice.

The council decided to use its powers under Section 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to resolve the problem, engaging specialist contractor AC Environmental to clear the land., after Mr Martin took no action and continued to be in breach of the Notice.

Councillor Gill Burton, who has the responsibility for communities at the council, said: “We have taken this action in the interests of the wider community and, initially, at a cost to the council.

“We will be seeking to recover the money we have spent but felt that we were left with no choice but to clear this land, which was an eyesore that was blighting the environment.

“Enforcement notices such as this are a last resort for the council and people need to understand that they cannot be ignored. I hope that by acting positively to sort out this problem local people will realise that we will not stand by and allow individuals to flout orders that are made in the best interests of Moorlands residents and communities.”

Mr Martin has also been banned from keeping animals for 10 years following a prosecution brought by Staffordshire Trading Standards.

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