The builder attempted, by pleading guilty, to take the entire rap for last year’s jungli style demolition at 18 Grove Road, when he and the owner appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates Court last November. Not only did he and his firm, UK Landmark Construction Limited, cop over £8,000 in fines, costs and victim surcharge, building company director, Mr Sayeed Naveed Akhtar, acquired a criminal record as a result.
The property owner, Mr Mohammed Ali Khan, of Thornbury Road, had pleaded not guilty on 18 November 2022 so waited until 3 February 2023 to return to the Uxbridge court to be tried for his part in the illegal demolition of 18 Grove Road. Hounslow Council was represented by lawyers with ready to participate witnesses from its Building Control Services and a neighbour impacted by the demolition.
The defence decided not to call any witnesses. However, it is felt that the presence of a number of individuals ready to testify for the council resulted in the defence changing their tactics by agreeing to Hounslow’s evidence as full facts.
After a long deliberation, the magistrates returned to find Mr Khan guilty of demolishing a building without notifying the local authority. They adjudged that Mr Khan had instructed his contractor to demolish the building and was, therefore, ultimately responsible for failing to notify the council of the demolition as required by section 80(2) of the Building Act 1984.
Proceeding to sentence Mr Khan, the magistrates imposed a £3,360 fine for the offence, £2,493.34 prosecution costs and victim surcharge of £190, a total of £6,043.34. A collection order was made in the event that he defaults on these payments.
It is the Department of Justice that sets the fines tariffs per type of crime that courts dispense. What was meted appears chicken feed but, as a result of being found guilty, Mr Khan is now a criminal as well as his builder.
Whilst this concludes the demolition prosecution, it does not resolve the issues on site. There is still a dangerous structure notice in place and this will remain until the front façade is allowed to be removed or the house is rebuilt.
A new application needs to be approved for the construction of a new house (in the style of the previous). Neighbours and Ward Councillors are keen to see this happen but, based on their thus far experiences with the owner, are seeking maximum legislative and planning policy safeguards. Hounslow Council Planning, Planning Enforcement and Building Control are aware of this through recent meetings following the submission of new planning application, P/2022/3149. Residents are keen for protection via planning conditions.
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