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Setchey company fined for demolition of ancient wall

Published: Wednesday, 19th July 2023

Magistrates have ordered Inivos Ltd to pay a fine of £1,200 and costs/surcharges of £1,320 after the company failed to rebuild an ancient carrstone wall that it had demolished.

At a hearing on 19 July magistrates were told how the company had demolished an ancient carrstone perimeter wall at its premises in Setchey, on the A10, which King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council’s conservation team considered to be an important non-designated heritage asset.

The company then failed to rebuild it, despite an enforcement notice requiring this to happen.

Geoff Hall, executive director for planning and environment at the council, said:

“As a result of the actions of Inivos Ltd an important heritage asset was lost, which was clearly in breach of the planning permissions for its site.

“I am pleased the company pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and I look forward to seeing the wall rebuilt promptly.”

Inivos Ltd had sought planning permission for the change of use of its premises, known as ‘Deerfields’, from a grain store to a warehouse. This was granted in June 2020.

Condition 7 of this permission required that part of an existing boundary wall to the west of the development should be taken down to provide a new entrance and to then be rebuilt in a new location, reusing the original materials if possible. The remainder of the boundary wall was to remain.

On 14 February 2021 it came to the notice of the council that part of the carrstone wall appeared to have collapsed. The council was told by Inivos Ltd that the collapse was due to a period of heavy frosts.

The company subsequently told the council in March that the wall had further deteriorated and was in need of complete demolition. It said it had an independent safety report confirming the need for demolition.

The company was asked to provide a copy of this report to the council and also to retain all materials to enable the wall to be rebuilt.

This report was never provided and despite ongoing communication between the council and the company during the summer of 2021 the wall was not rebuilt.

On 8 September 2021 a formal Breach of Condition Notice was served on Inivos Ltd. The notice had a compliance period of three calendar months from the date of service. The notice required that the development be carried out according to the approved plans and that the boundary wall should be rebuilt.

The council remained in contact with the company throughout 2022 in attempts to achieve compliance with the notice.

By early 2023 the council formed the view that Inivos Ltd was not going to rebuild the wall and issued proceedings against the company.

The case was heard in King’s Lynn Magistrates on Wednesday 19 July. The court fined Inivos Ltd £1,200 for the breach and awarded costs of £1,200 plus a victim surcharge of £120.

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