Welwyn Hatfield Council takes homeowner to Supreme Court

PUBLISHED: 10:30 14 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:08 14 February 2011

Alan, Ellen and Sarah Beesley inside thier converted barn

Alan, Ellen and Sarah Beesley inside thier converted barn

Casey Gutteridge

A FATHER who used a legal loophole to build a £500,000 family home on the Green Belt, has been hauled before the highest court in the country by Welwyn Hatfield Council.

The barn

Alan Beesley had planning permission to build a hay barn at Northaw Brook Meadow, off Coopers Lane Road, near Northaw, but the 40-year-old instead disguised inside a luxury home and lived there with wife Sarah.

The father-of-one then applied for a certificate of lawfulness which is available by homeowners after four years, despite having no planning permission.

Welwyn Hatfield Council has this week taken both Mr Beesley and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to the Supreme Court.

James Findlay, representing the council, told the seven law lords: “A person shouldn’t benefit from his own wrong.

Alan, Ellen and Sarah Beesley inside thier converted barn

“Our case is the activity that underlies this is fraudulent and together constitutes a criminal offence.

“The clear purpose of this planning application was to mislead and to provide a cover story for the activity that then occurred within that building.”

The council’s appeal is based upon whether Mr Beesley’s conduct should deprive him of his right to apply for a certificate of lawful use.

James Maurici, representing the Secretary of State, said: “I do not condone or excuse Mr Beesley’s conduct. The law as it currently stands he was entitled to a certificate, it’s our intention to change the law in that regard.”

As the WHT went to press, Mr Beesley’s representative had not opened his arguments to the court.

The case continues.

■ The lords hearing the case are: Lords Phillips, Rodgers, Walker, Brown, Mance, Clarke and Lady Hale.


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