Kent: The owner of Summlerland Lodge has been fined £50,000

Listed building

The old schoolhouse was used as an RAF base during WWII (Image: SWNS)

The decision by the owner of a historic building to refurbish the building turned out to be a very costly mistake.

Malawi Nijar removed sash windows at Grade II listed Summerland Lodge in Kent – and earned himself a £50,000 fine in the process.

The Westgate-on-Sea property was built in 1906 as a private preparatory school and was originally called Doon House, according to Historic England.

It was occupied by officers from RAF Manston during the Second World War and was listed as a historic monument in 2012.

The council took legal action after a long-running dispute over compliance.

It is illegal to carry out internal or external work on a listed building without legal permission.

Nijar was found guilty by Magistrates Court in Margate on December 2 last year.

On June 6, he was fined £40,000 for failing to comply with an enforcement order.

He also admitted failing to attend his trial in December, contrary to the Bail Act 1976, and was fined a further £2,500.

He was told to pay council expenses of £7,560 plus a £70 victim’s surcharge.

After the war it was bought by the Royal British Legion as a nursing and convalescent home and renamed Maurice Lodge.

It later became the headquarters of a construction company and in the mid 1980s a nursing home called Summerlands Lodge.

Council officials will inspect the property again in August and Nijar could be dragged back to court if the work is not done.

The council said it wanted a “strong approach” to anyone undertaking unauthorized work on a listed building.

It states: “We advise anyone who wants to carry out work on a listed building to seek advice from our planning department.”

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Justin Scacco

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