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Restauranteur fined £25,000 for “riding roughshod” over planning regulations

Published Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A restaurant owner who converted a car show room into a banqueting suite without planning permission was fined £25,000 at Wood Green Crown Court after being prosecuted by Enfield Council.

Gursel Aksu, 49, of Hyde Way, Edmonton, denied, but was found guilty of 10 offences of contravening a stop notice contrary to section 187(1) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 as amended on Monday 9 September.

In addition to the fine he was ordered to pay £9,000 costs to the council and confiscation of £52,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act,  if he does not pay within a year he faces up to three years in prison.

The court heard that Mr Aksu, who owns and runs the Kervan restaurants in Enfield, established the Kervan Banqueting Suite in Fore Street, Edmonton, along with a hairdressers, café and photographers and a car park on the site of a former car show room in 2010 – all without planning permission.

In 2010 the council started to receive complaints about noise and highway safety from the premises and issued a temporary stop notice instructing Aksu to stop activities on the site.  In 2009 Mr Aksu applied for but was refused planning permission for the site in 2010, he submitted another application for permission in 2010 before gaining conditional planning permission in November 2011 and final consent in June 2012.

Throughout the period, despite not having planning permission Mr Aksu continued to trade and received another stop notice in 2011 from the Council, culminating in Monday’s prosecution.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: “Planning rules are there to protect residents from inappropriate and disruptive developments and it is completely unacceptable that a company utterly ignores these laws and also instructions to stop trading when the council intervenes.

“This punishment by the court is a huge slap in the face to people who trade illegally and think they can do whatever they want regardless of the impact their activities have on people living near their businesses.

“We will not tolerate businesses which display a calculated disregard for the law and cynical indifference to the effect of their operation on their neighbours and we will always work tirelessly to protect the interest of the people living in this borough.

“Mr Aksu is now counting the cost of his behaviour and will rightly go to jail if he fails to pay the huge price his illegal behaviour has warranted.”

The court heard that Mr Aksu has a previous conviction for breaching a planning enforcement notice in 2006, convictions for three counts of trading without a licence & one offence of failing to comply with a breach of compliance notice in 2007.

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