• Churnet Sound Newsdesk

Landowner given suspended jail sentence for siting caravans on greenbelt land




A landowner has been given a suspended jail sentence by the High Court after siting caravans on greenbelt land in Cheshire East. Businessman Michael Maloney had 10 counts of contempt of court found proven at a trial earlier this year, following legal action brought by Cheshire East Council in relation to caravans placed on his privately-owned field, off Broadoak Lane, Mobberley. Yesterday (4 May), Maloney escaped an immediate term of imprisonment but was sentenced to eight months’ jail, for each offence to run concurrently, suspended for two years. Maloney, 36, of Broadoak Lane, Mobberley, was also ordered to pay Cheshire East Council’s legal costs and to make an interim payment of £25,000 by 1 June 2021. The court case followed an interim injunction, obtained last August, preventing the siting of further caravans on the field off Broadoak Lane. The order also prevented the construction of a hardstanding, the importing of materials and erection of buildings and other structures without planning permission. Despite the court order, more caravans were brought on to the site and additional works continued in breach of the injunction. The council then began proceedings for contempt of court against those involved in the breaches. Following a three-day trial in February, the High Court granted a final injunction, restraining further development on site and limiting the number of caravans to eight, pending the outcome of a planning appeal. Ten allegations of contempt of court, made against Michael Maloney were proven, following his breaches of interim injunctions. Admissions of contempt were made along with apologies to the court by contractors W Doherty and Sons, Paul Rennie and Adrian Draper, Total Plant Hire and its managing director Thomas Halligan. All agreed to contribute towards council costs. The court heard that Maloney was currently detained in HM Prison Altcourse, Liverpool, for unrelated matters and did not attend the hearing in person but via video link. Passing judgement, Mr Justice Turner QC said there was a strong public interest in ensuring orders of the court are obeyed. He also found Maloney’s evidence in defence of the allegations of contempt ‘unsatisfactory in several respects’. David Malcolm, Cheshire East Council’s head of planning, said “This sentencing sends out a message that planning laws and court orders cannot simply be trampled on and ignored. The defendant faces imprisonment if he breaches the court order or commits further offences. “I am very pleased with the successful outcome of the trial and the decisive way the judge reached his verdict on both the contempt of court and his conclusion to grant the final injunction. “Council officers responded quickly to local residents’ concerns in August, in securing the injunction. Since then officers have worked tirelessly to prepare the legal case, which has now been rewarded. It hopefully provides some reassurance for local residents that the law cannot simply be ignored.” The Broadoak Lane site remains subject to separate planning enforcement action, with an appeal hearing to be set by the Planning Inspectorate.

4 views
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
AE139157-8FB6-4C81-B654-73452EC2AA95.PNG
avanti.PNG