Westminster City Council (CC) has won a major Listed Building (LB) prosecution case, and fine of £162,300, for unauthorised works on Grade II 82 Harley Street.
Bob Kindred, responsible for the IHBC’s Listed Buildings Prosecution Database, said: ‘The IHBC Listed Buildings Prosecutions Database was created in 1996 to help establish the levels of activity across the UK prior to a high profile case eventually resulting in the successful prosecution of a Member of Parliament for unauthorised alterations to a Listed building.’
‘This case is the biggest LB prosecution fine we have ever been notified about, once Stelvio House, Newport in 1998 is discounted because that involved a calculation related to a potential gain by the defendants in site value.’
Heidi Pearce, Design and Conservation Officer at Westminster City Council said: ‘The main offences were the demolition of chimneybreasts at basement level, demolition of loadbearing walls at basement level, installation of steel beams, demolition of original wine vaults, removal of an original basement chimneypiece, removal of internal doors/architraves and installation of suspended ceilings, along with various other works.
The total fine handed down… was £162,300. This was split between the leaseholder SGP contracts (£150,000) and Mr Patel (the owner of SGP contracts) £12,300, plus £10,200 costs split between the two parties.’
Westminster CC writes:
Mr Subir Patel of SPG Contracts Ltd pleaded guilty on 29th May 2019 to causing or executing of works to a listed building without the requisite listed building consent.
On 18th September, taking into account the seriousness of the offence, Westminster Magistrates Court administered a total fine of £156, 978 against Mr Patel’s company, and a further personal fine of £15,874.
District Judge Lucie’s ruling agreed with Westminster City Council’s view that his actions were ‘deliberate’ and ‘with the intention of causing harm to the heritage asset or in flagrant disregard of the requirement to obtain the necessary consents and/or advice.’
Mr Patel was advised that he only escaped a prison sentence because he has no previous convictions and opted to plead guilty. A high level fine was imposed instead.
Cllr Richard Beddoe, Cabinet Member for Place Shaping & Town Planning said: ‘We take protecting London’s rich heritage seriously and welcome the court’s decision in this case where deliberate damage was caused to a listed building.’
‘We won’t stand for developers smashing through our history and always take action to protect listed buildings from rogue development like this.’
See Bob Kindred’s ‘Commentary’ on the Listed Buildings Prosecution Database
See background and links to the resource
See more background to local planning in Westminster CC