A LANDOWNER has been prosecuted for running an illegal caravan site for the last 11 years.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has won a long-fought case over the unauthorised caravan site on Nine Mile Ride.

Felix Cash and his company Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd were ordered to pay more than £50,000 in relation to the campsite near Finchampstead following a trial at Reading Crown Court.

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It brings to an end a marathon 11 year battle to get the 22 mobile homes removed from Pineridge in Nine Mile Ride.

Wokingham Borough Council has been at the heart of the battle, which began in June 2009 and followed a series of planning appeals and court hearings.

The mobile home park was built on land classified as protected woodland and never had planning consent.

Mr Cash and Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd admitted breaching planning regulations and were sentenced on March 2 at Reading Crown Court.

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A confiscation Ooder was made for £23,600 against Mr Cash and Phoenix Residential Homes Ltd, with additional fines of £6,000 for two offences (totalling £12,000) and £4,000 respectively.

The court also ordered Mr Cash to pay just under £14,000 in costs to Wokingham Borough Council.

Since June 2009 and February 2010, the council served enforcement notices on the site to stop using the unauthorised land for mobiles homes, and remove them along with the associated hard-standing and services by June 2015.

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Council officers regularly visited the site following the June 2015 deadline and saw that very little had changed. Later visits found some progress but it was not until December 2016 had all of the caravans and hardstanding been removed.

Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “This is a real victory for the council. We have been working to get this land in the countryside put back to its natural state, as open countryside.

"I am very pleased that we can now bring this process to a close with such a successful outcome. Planning regulations exist to protect all of us and I hope this sends a clear message that action will be taken against people who are breaking the rules.”