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National Park prosecutes house owner

[Thursday 24 May 2007]

A YORKSHIRE DALES house owner who carried out unauthorised work on his listed building has been fined following a prosecution brought by the National Park Authority.

Donald Bentham appeared before Kendal magistrates on Monday (May 21) after illegally making alterations to the late 17th century Coventree Farmhouse in Deepdale near Dent.

A prosecution like this is an absolute last resort when all else fails

Peter Watson - YDNPA

He was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 of carrying out unauthorised work on the two-storey, Grade II Listed Building - Mr Bentham was also ordered to pay £3,304 costs.

Peter Watson, the YDNPA's Head of Planning, said: "We welcome the magistrates' decision,

"Hopefully this successful prosecution will act as a warning to anyone who is considering carrying out any sort of work on a listed building without obtaining the necessary consent.

"There are 1,800 Grade I and Grade II listed buildings in the National Park and they are a vital part of its heritage. For that reason, they are heavily protected in law - work cannot be carried out without the appropriate consent.

"The Authority's Planning Officers are there to help all they can and will offer advice and suggestions to listed building owners.

"A prosecution like this is an absolute last resort when all else fails."

The YDNPA's case was that Mr Bentham was informed in writing in 2004 that he would need consent but he did not heed the advice and carried out a number of major alterations without it, including demolishing and rebuilding part of a gable wall, replacing the original windows with double glazing and removing archaeological evidence of a smokehood - an early form of chimney construction.

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