Midlothian Council: Planning disputes in Mayfield and Pathhead referred to Crown Office

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Midlothian homeowners could face court

Homeowners who failed to pay fines for breaching planning rules could face court after Midlothian Council referred them to the Crown Office. Councillors this week approved plans to seek prosecution against two separate homes where they issued enforcement notices which have not been met.

One of the cases involves couple James Bevis and his partner Louise who built a sunroom and garage at the side of their corner house in Mayfield five years ago for just £3,000. Midlothian planners objected to the structure, saying it was too far forward from the front of their home and appeals failed to win them support.

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At a meeting of Midlothian Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, planning chief Peter Arnsdorf told councillors a £2,000 Fixed Penalty Notice had been issued to the couple after they failed to demolish the sunroom and garage as ordered by the notice but had not been paid.

James Bevis in front of the sunroom and garage at his home in Mayfield.James Bevis in front of the sunroom and garage at his home in Mayfield.
James Bevis in front of the sunroom and garage at his home in Mayfield.

Ward councillor Bryan Pottinger expressed concern over the action telling the committee: “I can’t see many reasons or how it affects the sight line and I wondered how many public objections there were and how it was officially raised to begin with and did we seek a compromise. I understand it is outwith the guidelines. It is a tidy building that matches the area.”

At the time of the planning application for the addition to the home, the officers’ report said no letters of objection were received and two neighbours wrote in support of it. Councillor Pottinger was told the council and homeowner had gone through the planning process and it was a breach which required the next step of action.

Referring this case to the Crown Office was unanimously approved by the committee.

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The committee were also asked to approve referring a farmhouse owner who failed to change windows on an approved extension from clear to opaque. Mr Arnsdorf said the owner of the property at Edgehead, Pathhead, failed to act on the enforcement notice or pay a £2,000 fine issued. He said the Grade C listed building had been given planning consent for an extension but two windows had to be opaque because they overlooked neighbours.

He added: “The approved extensions and alterations have been constructed, however clear glazing has been installed in all windows, including those approved as being opaque, thereby causing detriment to the amenity of adjoining residents.”

The committee unanimously backed sending the Edgehead case to the Crown Office. Any decisions to prosecute will be taken by the Procurator Fiscal.