A HORTICULTURAL company director living on company land after a flood destroyed his business has been fined for breaching planning enforcement notices.

Caddicks Clematis Nursery in Lymm Road, Thelwall, along with its director, Vincent Clayton, 38, of the same address, appeared in Warrington Magistrates' Court on Tuesday after being in breach of three separate enforcement notices from Warrington Borough Council.

Clayton told the court that such is his financial problems that he and his family would face becoming homeless if they were forced to stop living in a log cabin built on the land.

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The breaches date back to 2016 and relate to a retail showroom, a log cabin and a yard building on land which had suffered flood damage when the Manchester Ship Canal burst its banks in 2016.

Jonny Bell, representing Clayton and Caddicks Limited, said removal of the buildings would cause a huge impact on the environment and Clayton did not have the funds to pay for it.

Retrospective planning permission can be made.

Mr Bell explained how Clayton bought the land in 2007 and wanted to use it for a nursery and horticultural business.

He told the court how the large flood in 2016 had destroyed stock, leaving Clayton struggling to trade.

An enforcement notice was served by the council on August 9, 2016, with regards to a retail showroom.

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This building had been given planning permission and there was every intention to use it for such a purpose

However, the court heard how the flood took away the business and at a loss, the decision was made to allow a carpet company to use the space, one which lasted only 12 months.

A further notice was served on October 11, 2016 to remove a log cabin on the site.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Magistrates' Court

It was granted planning permission but it is now used as a home for Clayton, his wife and six children due to the demise of the company.

There is currently planning permission for a car parking business on the Caddicks site due to its proximity to Manchester Airport.

If granted, some cars will be parked on a section of the land and the log cabin will be used as an office.

The family would have to go elsewhere but by having a tenant they could afford to do this, the court heard.

It is as a result of the flood that Clayton had to move his family into the cabin as they were under the impression that they would otherwise become homeless.

The prosecution denied this claim saying the council had written to the family about exploring alternative accommodation.

Another enforcement notice was served on February 27, 2018 in relation to a yard building.

Clayton wanted to replace a polytunnel with a building and sought advice but did not formally request planning permission.

As soon as this error became apparent, he ceased building.

District Judge Knight, sentencing during the hearing, said: "The council, whatever Mr Clayton's view of them may be, have been very lenient.

"I think Mr Clayton needs to look to himself and what he has brought upon his family and the additional work which we all have to pay for as tax.

"The council has to enforce it, it doesn't have a choice.

"Having said that I have noted the figures of the company – it has been operating at a loss in recent years.

"There is some possibility for the future but will it ever go back to a horticultural business, who knows?

"I know Mr Clayton has the planning for the car park but that is not a given and the community has the right to object.

"What Mr Clayton needs to stop doing is putting the cart before the horse and having everyone going round trying to unravel things retrospectively."

Caddicks Limited was fined £1,500 and must pay a victim surcharge of £50 and £1,900 in court costs.

Clayton was fined £250, must pay a £30 victim surcharge and contribute £200 towards the court costs.