Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ground Farce

A British Lottery winner Roy Gibney has been fined £10.50 after a "farcical" planning row with North East Lincolnshire Council.

The 53-year-old, who scooped £7.5-million in 1998, was taken to court for creating a vegetable patch for use by local disadvantaged schoolchildren, without planning permission.

He was issued with an enforcement notice in September, ordering him to remove the patch by November 9, but because he did not comply, he has appeared before Grimsby Magistrates' Court.

He must now tear up the educational facility, which includes sheds and raised vegetable and fruit beds, and measures 20 yards by 30 yards.

He said: "The council have turned around and said we have gone and encroached on the countryside - but it's my back garden."

Speaking from his luxury 25-acre estate in Barnoldby-le-Beck, he said: "The council has spent money on this case and I got fined just £10.50. I could understand it if I had built a high-rise block of flats or a house. To be honest with you, I think the fine reflects the seriousness of the crime. It is just farcical, but I am glad because I think that such a small fine shows that the judicial system has seen common sense and seen that this is for the local community and not for my benefit."

He explained: "I wanted the local school kids to know that carrots come from the ground, not from the supermarket. They come down here and they learn stuff and plant things and at the end of the year they come back down and pick what they have grown and take it home."

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