Councillors asked to back prosecution bid over ‘humongous’ Gorebridge house

Friday September 8th 2023

kirkhill Gorebridge

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Council officers are calling for the owner of a house described as ‘humongous’ to face prosecution after they failed to remove roof extensions built without planning permission.

The house on Kirkhill Terrace, Gorebridge, was built during lockdown despite a warning from planning officers that it did not match original plans approved in 2018.

A bid for retrospective planning permission for the revised design was initially refused as was an appeal in late 2020.

However a new revised plan was given the go ahead by planners a year later but a report to a meeting of Midlothian planning committee next week will tell members changes required through the approved plan have not been carried out.

The approved drawing for the house required ‘significant alteration’ to remove a large area of hipped roofing at either end of the home replacing it with a lower flat roof

Council officers issued an enforcement notice earlier this year ordering either the high roofs were removed or the entire house demolished.

The report to councillors next week says neither action has been taken and asks members to allow them to “refer the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for consideration to be given to prosecutorial action in relation to the parties who have breached the enforcement notice,”

A fine of up to £50,000 could be imposed if a conviction is secured in relation to the alleged offence.

At a Local Review Body meeting in October 2020 councillors were told that planning officers spotted the house which was being constructed was far larger than the original plans and ordered the work to be halted.

However, officers said, that as the county went into lockdown and officers were no longer monitoring new builds, the work restarted and the unauthorised home was completed.

Councillors refused an appeal over the refusal of a retrospective application for the house with Councillor Derek Milligan describing it as “humongous”.

Eventually a revised application was submitted which was approved but still required the demolition of the large roof extensions which were described as unacceptable but the work was not carried out.

The report to next week’s planning committee says: “In February 2022 the applicants were provided with a voluntary six month period to remedy the breach of planning control.

“No steps were taken to remedy the breach and on 18 November 2022 the council served a planning enforcement notice.

“Following a site inspection in July 2023 it was identified that there had been no compliance with either of the notice requirements and as a consequence the landowners have been formally advised of the consequences of non-compliance including reporting the matter to the committee seeking authorisation to take prosecutorial action.”

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