Two companies responsible for allowing an unauthorised vehicle repair businesses to be run at Warren Farm in Wokingham have been ordered to pay a combined total of more than £130,000 in fines and Proceeds of Crime confiscation orders following a successful prosecution.
Warren Farms (Wokingham) Ltd, a subsidiary of Luff Developments, and Master Tech Ltd both admitted breaching planning regulations and were sentenced to the fines and proceeds of crime confiscation orders on 11 May at Reading Crown Court. Confiscation Orders were made for £81,250 against Warren Farm (Wokingham) Ltd and £41,168 for Master Tech Ltd. In addition they were fined £12,000 and £3,000 respectively and Master Tech Ltd ordered to pay £2,500 in costs to Wokingham Borough Council.
Warren Farms (Wokingham) Limited bought Warren Farm in Forest Road in 2005 for £1.9million with a 40:60% shareholding split between Mr Peter Luff of (Luff Developments) and Mr Alan Scott, who was the sole director.
In March 2008 an enforcement notice was served on a number of the buildings at Warren Farm to prevent unauthorised use, however Master Tech was allowed to move on to the land in January 2013 to operate a vehicle repair businesses despite this contravening the enforcement notice. Council officers visited to site in April 2016 and observed the unauthorised activity.
Despite the enforcement notices, Master Tech was allowed by the landowner to continue operating at the site until it was issued a summons in January 2017.
Cllr Simon Weeks, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “Planning regulations exist to protect all of us and this is another example of how we will take action against people who are breaking the rules. I am particularly delighted that we successfully retrieved so much ill-gotten gain in this case because we need to show that breaking plan law does not pay.”