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Fine of £12,000 for breaching planning rules in South Downs National Park

Fine of £12,000 for breaching planning rules in South Downs National Park

September 14, 2023

A horse-owner who built stables, plumbed in a caravan and placed a shipping container on rural land in the South Downs National Park has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 in fines and costs and told to return the site to its original condition.

Jane Soul, 65, of Eastleigh, was originally served with enforcement notices ordering her to remove stables and stop keeping horses on land in Privett back in 2013.

She initially complied with those notices, but between 2016 and 2020 she started to redevelop the site with new, larger stables and new hard surfacing.

She then purchased further land to the south of the site and placed a residential style caravan and shipping container with a catchment tank. The caravan was fitted with mains water connection, drainage, and had gas connected for heat and cooking. More shelters were erected and she continued to keep horses on the site.

As a result, planning enforcement officers, working on behalf of the South Downs National Park Authority, issued a further order in 2021, ordering her to remove the development.

Soul appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on September 4 this year where she was found guilty of breaching all three notices.

The judge said Soul’s actions showed a deliberate failure to comply with the planning authority and that the requirements of the notices were ‘crystal clear’.

Cllr Angela Glass, East Hampshire District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regulation and Enforcement, said: “We are going to be tough on people who breach our planning rules. We have reinforced our planning enforcement team to protect the rural areas and countryside of East Hampshire from harmful development.

“This has been a long-running case but our enforcement teams don’t give up lightly. I am very pleased we have managed to bring this case to court and the council has successfully prosecuted the offenders.”

Tim Slaney, Director of Planning at the South Downs National Park Authority,  said: “The National Park was designated for its wonderful landscape and natural beauty, to be enjoyed by the whole nation.

“In order to protect this treasured area that brings so many benefits to both nature and people, we need to be tough when planning rules are so blatantly ignored and real damage is done.  I would like to commend the East Hampshire team for their persistence and resilience in achieving this successful outcome.”