No Conviction For Serco Leisure For Objurate Disobedience?

In a recent Court of Appeal case the court upheld levels of fines imposed on two defendants for listed building and planning notice breaches. Notices were issued in April 2014 by Birmingham City Council. After trying but failing to extend the time for compliance, prosecutions began in the Crown Court. The matter of interest to us is failure to comply with an order to complete remedial works as ordered.

After guilty verdicts the Judge deferred sentence to allow time to complete the works. At a sentencing hearing it was confirmed the works were compliant with the orders, The Judge then imposed fines of £25,000 on each of two defendants. On appeal against the fines the Court of Appeal heard the case Judge had in mind fines of £40,000 for each offence.

“Rather, the gravamen of the present case, as in Dagim Fish and Deli Ltd, was what Simon J in the latter case described as the ‘obdurate disobedience over many years’ of the occupier of the premises and the desire to avoid the cost of restoring the historic building.”

Both appeals against sentence were dismissed. The appellants were ordered to pay the costs of Birmingham City Council in the Court of Appeal, amounting to £3,491.00.

Readers know that West Lancashire Borough Council issued Breach of Condition Notice Reference E/2015/0223/BCN for Beacon Park Golf Centre that required Serco Leisure Operating Limited to comply with a stated condition by “Removing all excess material placed on the land hatched black on attached Plan 2 dated 11 May 2018 to provide the land profile as defined by Sections M-M, N-N, and O-O and contoured site plan all shown on plane reference 115.14 received by the Local Planning Authority on 13 July 2011. Time for compliance Six months beginning on the day on which this notice is served on you. Dated:16th May 2018. Signed Terry Broderick Borough Solicitor.

Warning. There is no right of appeal to the Secretary of State against this notice. It is an offence to contravene the requirements…after the end of the compliance period…you will then be at risk of immediate prosecution in the Magistrates Court for which the maximum penalty is £2,500 for a first offence and for any subsequent offence.

You can visit the Beacon Park Golf Course today to see for yourselves the appalling state it is in. The Serco Business Annual Leisure Report bleats about poor weather, but the reality is West Lancashire Borough Council planners and legals decided six months was ample, even allowing for weather.

Why hasn’t WLBC enforced the prosecution the Order contained? Friends in high places? Afraid there might be questions in court about how the abuse of landfill limits and its connections to royalties per load dumped occurred while no VAT was accounted for? Afraid WLBC incompetence would be evident?

For those who have loved the Beacon Park Golf Course and been members for years, remarks attributed to members include “There are not enough members left to form a team in the SW Lancs seniors League next year”. “There are not enough members to play against fixtures with other municipal clubs”. “It is IMPOSSIBLE to play golf on Beacon at the moment”.

A list of competitions and how many, or, how few, members entered has been provided from July to September. 25/7/20 WLTC Trophy-17; 1/8/20 August Medal -25; 8/8/20 Exiled Scott-23; 15/8/20 Presidents Putter-26; 22&23/8/20 Club Championship-22. 29/8/20 Wilson Bogey-23; 1/9/20 Past Members Trophy–14; 5/9/20 Sept Medal-18; 8/9/20 Frank Martin Trophy–8; 12/9/20 Chairman’s Trophy–15; 15/9/20 SA Conner Trophy- 11; 22/9/20 Tom Jackson Trophy-10. It is clearly in its death throws
as a viable golf club. Ruined by Serco!

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