Magistrate from Christchurch, Ian Kendall, ordered to cough up more than £93,000 after unlawfully converting homes on Burley Road, Bockhampton
A MAGISTRATE from Christchurch who unlawfully converted two of his properties has been ordered to pay back thousands in illegally obtained rent.
Ian Kendall, of Burley Road, Bockhampton, near Bransgore, was prosecuted by BCP Council after failing to comply with enforcement notices.
Visits from enforcement officers discovered that at one of the properties, both of which were on Burley Road, he had built an extension bigger than one the council had approved.
He had also unlawfully divided a second property into two two-bedroom homes and added an entrance lobby to create a separate entrance.
Prosecutor Ethu Crorie told Southampton Crown Court that Kendall had applied for planning permission to extend one of the properties in February 2016, but was turned down by the council in February 2017 as it was deemed too large.
A new application for a smaller extension at the property was later approved.
However, when planning officers visited in November 2018, they discovered Kendall had built a larger extension than that approved, and even bigger than the initial refused application.
This included the addition of a bedroom, en suite bathroom and kitchen.
After being written to by the council, Kendall submitted retrospective planning applications for both properties, which were subsequently refused.
BCP Council told Kendall he had six months to demolish the illegal extension and return his other property to one dwelling, but he failed to comply, prompting the council to prosecute him over the matters.
They also submitted a ‘proceeds of crime’ application to recover the money Kendall received from renting out the unlawfully divided property, which Mr Crorie said amounted to £69,202.
A further £7,931 was added to the value of his property through the illegal extension, the court heard.
Defending, Chris Gaiger disputed the amount and told the court: “It is conceded that the property was split into two, and two separate rents were obtained.
“We accept by dividing it by two more rent was received than if it was just one property – but it was not to the tune of £69,000.”
He urged judge Peter Henry to take into account the fact the income was split between Kendall and his wife, and asked for him to come up with a figure which was reflective of an additional property, rather than the total amount received for both rentals.
Kendall, a magistrate at Poole and whom the court heard was of previous good character, pleaded guilty to both counts.
Unusually, he took to the witness box at the sentencing hearing on Tuesday to explain his situation to the judge.
He said he planned to comply with the orders but, due to tenancy agreements, he was unable to evict those living in the property and carry out the work.
He had been hindered by the Covid pandemic, and BCP Council had taken 12 months to grant permission to site a temporary mobile home at the property for the tenants to move into while alterations were carried out, he added.
He said: “I couldn’t avoid it – as soon as I was in a position to knock it down, I did.”
Kendall also admitted that he was aware there was a risk he would face enforcement action as he did not have permission to rent the divided dwellings as two properties.
Ordering he pay proceeds of crime totalling £77,133, as well as an £8,000 fine and £7,877 in court charges, judge Henry said: “These offences were committed in order to obtain a financial advantage and, as Mr Kendall himself candidly said, there was a benefit to creating two properties.
“He did not take the extension down when requested, which he tells me was due to a combination of problems.
“I accept to some extent there may have been difficulties, but nonetheless he was late [to remedy the work].
He added the case was not “an accounting exercise” and he was not prepared to deduct from the gross income any legitimately made income from one of the dwellings.
He gave Kendall three months to pay the proceeds of crime money and 12 months to pay the fine and court costs.
He was warned he could face 15 months in prison if he did not pay in time.