A private developer who defied planning law in 2007 to build a six-storey block of flats has been ordered to confiscate a UK record-breaking sum for the planning offence. The owner of 34 privately-rented flats illegally benefited from the use of the property that was built without planning permission.
The developer was sentenced in November for the offence of failing to demolish the property, which is worth an estimated £10m, after the Council served an enforcement notice in August 2011.
As part of the case, the Council made an application to the Court to confiscate money illegally made from the building under the Proceeds of Crime Act. In August this year the Court made a confiscation order in the sum of £700,000, a reflection of the rent received since it was built. The Council will receive one third of this with the other two thirds split between the Court and the Treasury. Money received by the Council will be reinvested back into the services that brought the developer to justice.
London Authorities seem to be rather aware of the Proceeds of Crime Act and there have been a number of successful cases brought. When the rewards are significant for the Council (in this case some £230k), you can only help but think that it will become a useful tool to fund planning and enforcement services to continue to seek out and investigate planning issues. Imagine how many enforcement officers that would pay for!!