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For Immediate Release
Swanley man snared for fly tipping offecnces
Sevenoaks District Council has prosecuted a Swanley man for five fly-tipping offences in Chelsfield Lane.
Thirty-three year old Liam Dunne of Pemberton Gardens pleaded guilty to the fly-tipping at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on Friday 13 May 2022. He was given 160 hours of unpaid work told to pay £3,548 in costs and compensation.
Mr. Dunn was brought to justive following an investigation by Sevenoaks District Council's Environmental Enforcement Team.
Folowing reports of fly tipping on Chelsfield Lane in 2021, the Team worked with Kent County Council (KCC) to set up CCTV at locations along the rural road.
Between 11 March and 9 April 2021, builders' rubble, soil, sand, and worooden boards were dumped on Chelsfield Lane on five occassions blocking the road. KCC removed the waste at a cost of thousands of pounds.
Despite warning signs that CCTV was in operation, a Ford Transit van was recorded in Chelsfield Lane at the time of the offences and, on occasions, seen and heard tipping waste.
The Council's Environmental Enfourcement Team traced the Ford Transit to the registered owner, Mr. Baker-Eastwood. However, it was his employee, Liam Dunne, who was identified as the fly tipper.
Mr. Dunne was interviewed by the Council on 27 January 2022 when he admitted to the offences.
At Sevenoaks Magistrates' court on 13 May 2022, it came to light that Mr. Dunn had been disqualified from driving at the time of the offences.
Mr. Dunn pleaded guilty to five fly tipping offences and was handed a 12-month Community Order with requirements to complete 160 hours of Community Service and 15 hours of rehabilitative activities and ordered to pay £3,203.08 in compensation to KCC, £250 in costs to Sevenoaks District Council and a £95 Victim Surcharge.
Sevenoaks District Council's Cabinent Member for Cleaner & Greener, Cllr Margot McArthur, says: "Thanks to the hard work and persistence of our Environmental Enforcement Team, we havce stopped another fly tipper in his tracks.
"Despite this being a complex case, our team was determined to see it through and bring the culprit to justice.
"This is another example of councils working together to protect our much cherished environment and I want to thank Kent county council for their help securing another conviction."
Issues by: Daniel Whitmarsh, Communication and Consultation Manager
Call: 01732 227414
Council vows not to withdraw Local Plan
In the latest response to the Planning Inspector, Sevenoaks District Council has vowed not to withdraw its draft Local Plan, despite continued pressure to do so.
The Council’s Strategic Planning Manager, James Gleave, confirms in the response dated 3 January that the Council will not voluntarily withdraw its Local Plan from examination and continues to disagree with the conclusions made by the Planning Inspector.
The Government appointed Planning Inspector, Karen Baker, wrote again to the Council on 13 December 2019 urging it to withdraw the Local Plan from examination. She repeating her belief that the Council has not carried out its duty to co-operate with neighbouring councils to find sites for new homes that cannot be delivered due to constraints such as the Green Belt. The Inspector believes the Council had not done enough to address the ‘unmet housing need’ despite the proposals achieving almost 90% of the Government’s housing target.
Mr Gleave goes on to say while the Planning Inspector highlights the Council’s perceived failings, she does not provide a clear understanding of what constructive engagement with neighbours should be. She fails to take the pragmatic approach expected in the legislation and ignores significant evidence, much of it from the Council’s neighbours and independent experts.
The Inspector had all the evidence and documentation for almost six months before the examination and asked 523 questions. Of these, just of six covered the duty to co-operate. The very first day of the examination covered the duty to co-operate and this included neighbouring councils giving evidence on Sevenoaks’ behalf. This demonstrated engagement had taken place throughout the process, including a meeting hosted by the Government’s own Planning Advisory Service.
Cllr Julia Thornton, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Conservation, says: “In an area that is 93% Green Belt, much of it within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we have worked with residents, communities, developers and other groups to put forward a plan that delivers much needed housing and infrastructure, such as medical centres, transport and schools. It continues to protect our very special environment and the rural nature of the District. The plan would meet almost 90% of the Government’s housing need figure for the District. This is a significant achievement considering the constraints.
“Despite our neighbouring councils confirming we had done all we could to meet the duty to co-operate, we are disappointed the Planning Inspector’s conclusions fail to take into account the clear evidence we and our neighbours have provided. Clearly, every council is at different stages of their own Local Plan and despite keeping our neighbours informed at every turn, we could not expect them to delay their own plans based on what may be possible rather than was likely according to the evidence.
“We are obviously very disappointed the Planning Inspector has refused to meet with us and will not to accept any further correspondence about the matter.”
Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of the Council, adds: “I will be writing to the Secretary of State on this matter and urgently asking him to intervene. It appears something is very wrong with the system if a council with its communities works hard for four years to produce an evidence-based plan that delivers housing, jobs and infrastructure investment, whilst protecting the environment, only to be halted by a single individual. We will not be withdrawing our Local Plan and the Inspector will produce her report in due course. We will then take the strongest action open to us.”
You can view the Council’s latest letter and other correspondence at www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/localplannews.