In Depth

Couple fined for using fake garage door to hide illegal home

Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri defied planning regulations by disguising small house

A couple from Leicestershire have been fined after using a fake garage door and high fence to hide a residential property from a council.

Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri had “flouted regulations by turning their redbrick garage into additional living space and concealing it behind fences and a fake garage door”, says The Times.

The breach of planning regulations was spotted in October 2015, Blaby District Council said. The couple put in a retrospective planning application in July 2016, but it was rejected and dismissed on appeal in February last year.

Planning permission “was granted for a development in 2007 which included conditions stating that car parking facilities, including the garage, should remain available permanently”, reports The Independent.

Appearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court, Herzallah and Almasri, from Enderby, were each ordered to pay a £770 fine, legal costs of £1,252, and a £77 victim surcharge.

The garage “will be restored to its former use”, says The Guardian.

Blaby district councillor Sheila Scott said: “The message from this case is clear. If you breach planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just go away.

“We will be following up the successful prosecution with a further visit to ensure that all the requirements of the breach of condition notice are fully complied with.”

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