Pensioner fined £10,000 and warned to demolish home

A pensioner must pay £10,000 and tear down his property after building on precious greenbelt land in Bournemouth. Peter Dick, 74, built a £500,000 bungalow on the land in West Parley, Dorset, more than a decade ago for his unwell wife. But he did so without getting planning permission, making the property – which sits within 400 metres of protected heathland and deemed a Site of Scientific Special Interest – illegal.

Mr Dick has twice received orders to tear down the home since it was built in 2010, with notices demanding its demolition arriving in 2012 and 2019.

He ignored both and chose instead to bolster site security with an eight-foot barbed-wire topped fence with a padlocked gate.

An application to legalise the property was denied in 2012, leaving him at the mercy of the local council.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) took him to court in 2021, where he was found guilty of failing to knock down the home.

But the property remains two years on, and the case was heard again at Poole Magistrates’ Court.

The 74-year-old admitted during the latest hearings that he had breached an enforcement notice under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act when he failed to “carry out works to demolish an unauthorised home”.

Prosecutor Mary Almeida said that, while she appreciated the case is now 11 years old, there is a “long history” of extensions giving Mr Dick time to comply.

She said he received “numerous planning applications and appeals and extensions to comply with said notice”.

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Ms Almeida added that the last extension, which he received in 2021, allowed him to comply with the notice until November 27, 2021.

She concluded: “Mr Dick is still in breach of the notice.”

Speaking to the court, the defendant said he built the home for his wife, who has progressive muscular dystrophy.

He said the property was constructed with a layout “designed for her”.

And while there was a lawful “converted industrial building” on the site, he said it “does not have facilities for her”.

Defending lawyer Simon Bell said he had “no other property to live in”, adding: “The planning regime doesn’t work as well as it should have.”

Magistrate chair David Murray told Mr Dick that he took a “course of action which has put you on a collision course with council and planning rules”.

He ordered the defendant must pay a £7,500 fine, with an additional surcharge and £3,269 in costs.

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