Workers spotted at Kettering building site that had been subject to a stop notice

The temporary stop notice issued by North Northants Council expired on August 31

Monday, 6th September 2021, 3:26 pm
Updated Monday, 6th September 2021, 3:29 pm

Workers have been spotted back on the Kettering construction site that last month was the subject to an official stop notice after work to illegally add an extra floor was flagged up.

The now expired temporary stop notice had been issued by North Northamptonshire Council to a construction company after it breached planning permission and began adding an extra floor to a Kettering apartment block.

Michigan Construction Ltd had been granted planning permission to develop the site next to the Prince of Wales pub in Job's Yard, managing to secure approval for a four-storey building for nine flats.

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The apartment block in Job's Yard, Kettering off Meeting Lane

But builders started work to add a fifth floor - in a breach of the approved planning permission - leading to the stop notice being issued in August.

Michigan Construction Ltd has a base in Robinson Way, on the Telford Way Industrial Estate, Kettering, but the company office is registered in Towcester and is owned by a Marcus Fielding.

The notice had stated that the builder was "to cease all the activity - construction activity associated with the building of a five-storey block of flats - other than limited work required to make this site safe," adding the reason for the notice being issued as "a fifth floor is being constructed unlawfully following the grant of planning permission under KT/2019/0908 which was for four storeys only."

Planning permission for the Job's Yard development of nine apartments - six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom - had been granted after an appeal to the Government's Planning Inspectorate on January 26, 2021, overturning a decision made by the then Kettering Borough Council.

The building is next to the Prince of Wales pub

The planning permission appeal was granted for a four-storey apartment block with a stepped profile to set the upper storeys further from the adjacent buildings.

Concerns had been made previously by Kettering Civic Society on behalf of the Toller Church that the flats - to be built with no car parking spaces - in the Kettering Conservation Area would add traffic down the narrow Meeting Lane, and affect neighbours by blocking out light and affecting their privacy.

Despite objections, the Planning Inspectorate granted the appeal saying: "I find that the appeal proposal [the flats] would not harm the character and appearance of the area, including the setting of the Kettering Conservation Area, with particular regard to scale, mass and design.

"Furthermore, the appeal proposal would not impose any greater harm to the living conditions of neighbouring residential properties than the fall-back position that would be unacceptable. Consequently, there would be no conflicts with the development plan in these regards. There are no other matters before me that would indicate that the appeal should not succeed."

How the plans show the building

A temporary stop notice requires that an activity which is a breach of planning control should stop immediately upon service of the notice. It is an offence to contravene a temporary stop notice. On summary conviction the fine is limited to £20,000 or on indictment the fine is unlimited.

Any person affected by a temporary stop notice can challenge the local planning authority - in this case North Northants Council - but there is no right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the restrictions in a temporary stop notice.

An enforcement notice can be issued where the local planning authority is satisfied that it appears that there has been a breach of planning control and it is 'expedient to issue a notice', taking into account the development plan and any other material considerations.

An enforcement notice can be served where there is a valid planning permission in place or where there is unauthorised development.

The stop notice was issued, and expired, last month

The enforcement notice will detail the alleged breach of planning control and set out the steps that are to be taken to remedy the breach, the date the notice will come into effect (28 days following service), the actions required to remedy the breach and the compliance time for each of the actions.

If a person fails to comply with an enforcement notice it is a criminal offence for which a court can impose a fine.

A spokesman for North Northamptonshire Council said: “The current stop notice has expired and we are currently reviewing the situation and potential options.”

The plans showing four floors