Farmer who stored caravans without permission handed £6,500 court bill
PUBLISHED: 16:03 23 May 2019
A farmer who has repeatedly ignored council orders to remove caravans from his land has been left with a hefty court bill.
Gareth Emms, of Grove Road, Hethersett, has been at loggerheads with South Norfolk Council over caravans stored on his farmland about two years.
Emms, 36, a horticultural worker, has been operating a separate business on his private land storing caravans at £150 per year.
Between 30 and 40 vans are currently kept on the land and he estimates that in doing so he has made around £10,000 - while providing a service to his community.
However, almost a year to the day after being formally issued with an enforcement notice by the council, the number on the site has not been reduced.
The enforcement came following a complaint from a neighbour in 2017, with South Norfolk considering the caravan storage to be a new use of the land and therefore requiring planning permission.
Emms, though, has argued that it is ancillary to his agricultural and horticultural work - so stood his ground.
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After several attempts to make him comply proved fruitless, the council took legal action against him.
On Thursday, magistrates in Norwich ordered him to pay a £1,500 fine, a £150 victim surcharge and the council's £4,907.86 legal costs.
Tamsin Eddison, of nplaw, prosecuting said: "This is flagrant disregard for the enforcement notice. He [Emms] has failed to take any of the matters on board."
Emms, who represented himself, told the court the notice was obsolete.
He said: "My family have lived in Hethersett for more than 200 years and I always try to do things for the community - such as storing things for them.
"I always try to be conscientious to my neighbours and people enjoy what I do in horticulture."
After being found guilty of being in breach of the enforcement in September 2018, Emms pleaded guilty to two further charges of the same thing in January and March of this year.
An identical charge against his father, Richard Emms, was adjourned last week.