Magistrates issue £72,000 fine for letting listed building fall into disrepair

The owner of an historic potbank has been taken to court again for the continued breach of an improvement notice.

Middlesex-based Charles Lewis and Co were served with a planning enforcement notice, under Section 215 of the Town and Country Act, in 2018 for allowing the former Price and Kensington Teapot Works to fall into disrepair, and the impact its appearance was having on the area.

Magistrates found the company guilty of failing to comply with the notice in its absence during a hearing at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in October 2019, and handed out the maximum fine of £1,000.

Since then, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, in conjunction with Historic England, has continued to try and work with the owner of the grade-II* listed building, in Newcastle Street, Longport, to get them to carry out the necessary and urgently required improvements. However, the owner has still failed to take any significant positive steps to the site, leading to the council to pursue a second prosecution for the continued failure to comply with the planning enforcement notice.

On Monday, October 11, the owner was again found guilty in its absence and fined £72,000 by magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, based on a maximum fine of £100 per day since the first conviction. Costs totalling £830 were also awarded to the council by the court.

Conservative Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage, said: “Buildings like this are part of the city’s built heritage and have great cultural and social impact, but they are a fragile resource and need looking after. We’ve made numerous attempts to work with the owner for several years now, but they refuse to cooperate and the site continues to deteriorate at a rapid rate.

“We’re very pleased with the significant fine handed out by magistrates, which is a big improvement on the previous one and shows how seriously they take the matter. We will continue with our efforts to secure improvements for this heritage site and will not hesitate to use the full extent of the law again if we have to.”

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