High Court hears Kettering property developer has 'cocked a snook' at council and the court
The fate of the unlawful apartment building in Kettering town centre has moved nearer to being resolved at the trial set to determine whether it should be totally demolished.
On Wednesday, the property developer who built a six-storey building in Job’s Yard that breaches planning permissions and a court order failed to show to give in-person evidence.
Her Honour Judge Sarah Watson told Mr Fielding that the time for giving evidence had passed but that she would give him the ‘right of reply’ to the expert reports.
Mr Fielding said: “It’s fundamental in error. The report is not up to date and we have taken remedial work.”
He said that he had used metal ties between wall blocks and he had personally been on site when they were installed.
Judge Watson admitted she was ‘baffled’ why he had continued to build the fifth and sixth storeys of the Job’s Yard apartments after the building was subject to a court order to remove them – adding windows and a roof.
She said: “Why have you continued to build the fifth and sixth storeys and putting windows in to storeys that are agreed to be demolished?”
He said: “With regard to the windows they were purchased for £70,000 prior to the first hearing. Those works were already underway. The roof – that’s the part where I live.”
Mr Fielding on behalf of Michigan Construction Ltd had claimed that load capacity of his building was 15 per cent more than was needed.
He said: “We’ve taken the block strength and the foundation strength and our calculations show we’re a long way within (the correct load capacity). We undertake our own structural calculations.”
Judge Watson said: “You mean you’ve done calculations of your own?”
Mr Fielding said: “Yes.”
North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) is seeking an injunction to completely demolish the flats Mr Fielding has almost single-handedly constructed.
Simon Goldberg KC for NNC repeated his assertions that the building was a danger to public safety, saying NNC had the right to apply to a court to remove a building that had breached building regulations.
He said: “The foundations do not comply with the planning application.”
Mr Goldberg pointed out that the foundations that had been constructed were for a three-storey building and the building was now six storeys high. Also in doubt was the load strength of blocks used on the first two floors to build the walls. Different bricks – or blocks – measured in newtons per metre squared can take different pressures, the higher the pressure the more weight it can take.
He said: “There is a course of blockwork that should have been 10.6 newtons per metre square blocks, but in fact was constructed at 3.6 newtons per metre square blocks.
"It’s not structurally fit for purpose. The evidence in relation of the breach of building regulations is all one way and overwhelming."
He added: “What the first defendant (Mr Fielding) is doing is cocking a snook at the claimant (NNC) and the court.”
Judge Watson is due to give her judgement today (Friday).