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A couple illegally converted their garage into an extra house and HID it behind fake garage door are fined £770 and ordered to revert it

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A couple flouted planning regulations by converting their garage into an extra home – and then hid it behind fences and a fake garage door. Dr Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri, from Enderby, Leicestershire, were visited by officers from Blaby District

Council, who began investigating the couple in October 2015. They found the couple had converted their garage into extra living space, installed a fence which blocked a parking slot, and created an unauthorised access route onto the B4114 dual

carriageway. The couple were convicted in their absence at Leicester Magistrates Court after failing to make plea. A spokesman for the planning authority said: ‘The development included the conversion of their garage to habitable accommodation and the erection of fencing, preventing off street parking at the property.’The couple

also undertook illegal works within the highway and created an unauthorised vehicle access onto the busy B4114 dual carriageway.’ These works resulted in a Breach of Condition Notice being served on both Dr Herzallah and Mr Almasri under Section

171 D (1) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.Planning permission granted for the original housing development in 2007 included conditions stating that car parking facilities, including the garage, should permanently remain available to ease potential

on-street parking issues.Further planning permission was also required to build the driveway. The couple were convicted in their absence at Leicester Magistrates Court after failing to make plea. Pictured: A car in front of the fake garageThe council

spokesman said: ‘Our enforcement team were first made aware of the breaches in October 2015 and made numerous approaches to Dr Herzallah and Mr Almasri to resolve the matter.’A retrospective planning application to retain the works was submitted by the defendants in July 2016 but was refused and subsequently dismissed on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2017.’He added:

‘After further correspondence from the council, some remedial works were undertaken by the defendants in May and June of 2017, which included the removal of fencing.’Inspections by officers in July and August 2017 confirmed, however, that the garage had not been restored to its approved use, with the inserted door and window concealed by a propped up garage door.’A final site visit in November 2017 confirmed that the required works to the garage had still not been undertaken, following we sought prosecution for the offence.’The defendants were each ordered by magistrates to pay a £770 fine, legal costs of £1,252, and a £77 victim surcharge.