A SKIP hire boss has been ordered to pay legal costs to a council after an attempt to overturn an enforcement notice failed.

The appeal, made by Anthony Shepherd, of Albert Hill Skip Hire, was dismissed by planning inspector Martin Joyce, who also ordered the company to pay Darlington Borough Council’s legal costs – which have not yet been calculated - stating they behaved unreasonably during the appeal process and caused wasted expense to the authority.

Mr Joyce also gave the company three months to clear the company’s site at St Nicholas Industrial Estate, in Dodsworth Street, Darlington, of waste and remove the skips being stored there.

The council issued the enforcement notice in December 2011 after the company breached planning control by changing the use of the land at the site from general industrial use, consisting of a wood processing facility, to that of a mixed use waste transfer, involving waste tipping and skip hire, without planning permission.

The enforcement notice ordered Mr Shepherd to stop importing waste into the site; to remove waste material on the land; to not permit the use of the land as a waste transfer station; to not allow the use of the land as a tip and to not use the land for skip hire or storage.

However, Mr Shepherd appealed saying he believed the activities carried out at the site were lawful, and that a breach of planning control did not happen.

A report prepared by Mr Joyce said the company failed to engage with the council throughout the appeal and failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims.

It also said they failed to communicate with the council during the appeal, including not replying to written letters or returning telephone calls.

A council spokesman said: “This has been a long and complex case made more so by the actions of Albert Hill Skip Hire and Mr Anthony Shepherd.

“We are pleased that the Inspector has found in the council’s favour and it is the intention of the council to pursue the costs award.”

The Northern Echo was unable to contact anyone at the company for comment. 

  •  Anthony Shepherd, also known as Raymond Shepherd, formerly of West Musgrave Farm, St Helen Auckland, County Durham, was sentenced to 18 months in jail by a judge at Teesside Crown Court in December last year after being found guilty of a number of charges, including operating a regulated facility without a permit, unlawfully depositing controlled waste and failing to comply with a suspension notice.

The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency following illegal dumping of toxic waste at the Albert Hill Skip Hire site, in Dodsworth Street, Darlington, and at two other sites operated by the company.