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Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Okeford Fitzpaine used as ‘scrapyard’

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A landowner has pleaded guilty to using land, intended exclusively for agricultural purposes,  to construct unauthorised buildings and structures and store vehicles and waste materials.

Joseph Clancy, of Hazel Farm, Okeford Fitzpaine, Blandford Forum appeared in court yesterday (4/10) after being prosecuted by North Dorset District Council for breaching three enforcement notices contrary to Section 179(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

He appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to three offences relating to land at Okeford Hill, Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset – an area that falls within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The court heard that an officer visited the land on 30 July 2010 and found that it was strewn with various materials, vehicles, abandoned vehicles, and a large number of small structures and buildings (42 in total) including a porta-cabin.

beauty spot Okeford Fitzpaine
The scrap at the beauty spot near Blandford.

Sentencing has been adjourned for six months to 3 April 2018. This is to ensure the land is cleared by Mr Clancy of all unauthorised structures, vehicles and materials in compliance with the three Enforcement Notices served upon him and thereby restore the land to good order.

Council officers will provide updates on the clearance of the site to Judge Peter Johnson.

After the case, Councillor David Walsh, North Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: ‘A considerable amount of officer time has gone into this case and I am pleased with a decision that hopes to lead to clearance of the site.

‘We have a duty to protect land that falls under an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and make sure it is used for its intended purpose. I would like to reassure people that while we take this duty seriously, we also try to work with land owners wherever possible. Court action is only ever a last resort.’

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