A COUPLE who went to elaborate lengths to disguise a tiny extra home as a garage will have to pay thousands of pounds after being caught by council planners.
Reeta Herzallah, 37, and Hamdi Almasri, 39, had flouted regulations by turning their redbrick garage into additional living space and concealing it behind fences and a fake garage door.
The pair, who are both registrars, parked their car in front of the house and created an unauthorised entrance on to the B4114 dual carriageway. They were caught in 2015 after a complaint from the public and officers from Blaby district council visited their home in Enderby, Leicestershire.
The couple put in a retrospective planning application in July 2016 but this was rejected and dismissed on appeal in February last year. Yesterday, after failing to attend to enter pleas at Leicester magistrates’ court, they were convicted in their absence of a series of planning breaches.
Planning permission had been granted for a development in 2007 which included conditions stating that car parking facilities, including the garage, should remain available permanently.
The couple were ordered to pay a £700 fine, £1,252 in legal costs and a £77 victim surcharge and the garage will have to be restored. They had carried out “remedial works” in May and June which included removing some of the fencing but follow-up inspections in July, August and November showed that no work had been done to the garage, leading the council to prosecute.
Sheila Scott, the council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “If you breach planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just go away. Creating an access on to the busy B4114 and blocking off valuable off-road parking space was completely unacceptable.”
Neil Johnston, Midlands Correspondent
This article first appeared in The Times