Couple ordered to knock down illegal extension they claimed to be a caravan

8 May 2017

A couple from Great Abington have been told by Magistrates they must take down and remove from site a single story pitched roof extension that they claimed to be a caravan.

Mr and Mrs Tilley of North Road pleaded guilty at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court to failing to comply with an enforcement notice served by South Cambridgeshire District Council as they built the single storey building and linked it to their home without planning permission.

Mr Tilley said at court that the extension was not in accordance with the Caravan Act and was deemed a building, although he had tried to build a caravan. They had removed the front of the site and there was still an issue outstanding to be resolved before he removed the materials.

At court, Mr and Mrs Tilley were each fined £1,500, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 each and legal costs of £500 each. The total bill for the couple was £4,200.

Council lawyers told the couple at court that if they fail to fully comply with the enforcement notice to remove the building from site then a further prosecution could result. This must be done within 28 days.

Council bosses have said that the case is a good example of the cost to residents or businesses – both in time and money – of pressing ahead with plans without first talking to planners about what is proposed.

South Cambridgeshire District Council is urging people to consider using their pre-application service which can make sure that all planning requirements are considered at the earliest stage.

Pre-application advice can be found by visiting

The cost of pre-application advice starts from as little as £175 – which could save thousands in the long run.

Cllr Robert Turner, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “We always try and work with anyone looking to develop their home or business and even offer some free advice to get them on the right track. The last thing we want is for people to plough on with plans and end up paying the consequences further down the line. In Mr and Mrs Tilley’s case we had little choice but to take it to court as the owner had put up a major extension without planning permission and refused to put it right when we served them with an enforcement notice. The approach Mr and Mrs Tilley took has cost them thousands of pounds and a huge amount of heartache which could have been avoided.”