Landlord fined over Downend eyesore

June 24 2019

A LANDLORD who failed to clear up his eyesore Downend property has been fined £4,800.

Leighton Dowding’s neglected empty house in Grace Road became overgrown and a magnet for fly-tipping, magistrates heard.
Dowding, 45, from Brighton, admitted failing to comply with a remedial order under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act after being prosecuted by South Gloucestershire Council.
He was also ordered to pay £2,200 costs to the local authority plus a victim surcharge.
The mid-terrace house has remained unoccupied for more than six years and, since at least 2012, has been left “wholly unmaintained”, Bristol magistrates were told.
The large front and rear gardens became extensively overgrown and, despite a community protection notice served on Dowding in August 2017, he failed to clear the land or remove the piled-up waste.
At the hearing on June 5, magistrates were told the landlord did not even start the work and the property’s condition deteriorated further.
In May last year, Dowding pleaded guilty at Brighton magistrates’ court and was fined £1,000 plus £1,600 for  failing to comply with the notice.
A remedial order was then issued by the court with a deadline for compliance of July 29, 2018. But the owner still failed to carry out the work, apart from removing the waste.
Bristol magistrates ruled that Dowding had ignored the court order and convicted him of failing to comply with the notice issued in Brighton.
South Gloucestershire Council cabinet member for planning, transport and environment Cllr Steve Reade said after the hearing: “We are working to bring long-term empty properties in our area back into use.
“Before following this course of action, we had previously written to and contacted the owner several times about their property and repeatedly offered advice and assistance, without any continuing response.
“Where necessary, we will use enforcement powers to bring empty properties back into use which require an owner to maintain the property in reasonable condition if it is adversely affecting the locality.”
The council launched formal action against Dowding in 2014 under planning enforcement legislation where they undertook a site clearance resulting from non-compliance with a notice.
While this initially brought some relief to neighbours, the persistent neglect of the gardens continued, the council said.
The latest case had been adjourned from April 24 for the defendant to carry out the works as assured to the court, ahead of sentencing for the failure to comply with the remedial order.
Following that hearing, Dowding has now cleared the overgrown gardens and removed dilapidated structures in the rear garden as required.