A couple who sparked outrage in a village community after closing a pub and turning it into a house without planning permission have been found guilty of failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice.
Geoffrey and Jacqueline Noquet will have to pay more than £17,000 in court costs after a judge sentenced them at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
District Judge Stephen Day ordered Mr and Mrs Noquet to each pay £8,527.50 in legal fees and be subject to a 12-month conditional discharge for the offence relating to the Bishops End – formerly the Bishop Blaize – in Burdrop.
The Noquets bought the pub in 2007 and closed it claiming it was not a viable business. They also controversially changed the name of the pub to the Bishops End. Villagers set up the Bishop Blaize support group in an attempt to re-open the pub.
At a hearing in August, Gary Grant, prosecuting for Cherwell District Council, told the court that between June, 21 2013 and September 19, 2013, the Noquets had ignored a planning enforcement notice which prohibited the premises being used solely as a residential dwelling following the closure of the pub.
Seven applications for a change of use have been refused since 2007. In February 2012 Cherwell issued the enforcement notice, which was upheld on appeal in October the same year.
Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning at Cherwell, said: “This case should serve as a severe warning that failing to comply with the planning system, including enforcement notices, is a serious offence.”