The owner of a Thornton Heath car-repair business who ignored repeated warnings from Croydon Council about allowing work to be carried out on the pavement and road outside his premises has been hit with fines and costs totalling £4,840.
Irfan Chaudhry, 43, the former sole director of Balham Vauxhall Spares, based in Parchmore Road, pleaded guilty to three charges at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on Monday (15).
The court was told that between June and October of last year, council officers, responding to complaints from neighbouring residents, visited the business on a number of occasions.
They issued a community protection notice, giving him 48 hours to comply with instructions to quit works beyond the boundaries of his premises, to remove unroadworthy vehicles from the highway and to clean the public footpath.
He failed to comply, and during each subsequent visit Chaudhry was told that work to motor vehicles should not be carried out on the road outside the premises, and that cars should not be left in such a way that they obstructed pedestrians’ free passage along the footpath.
The bench was told that he had not dealt with debris, oils and other fluids that he allowed to drain away across the footpath, and had failed to pay an £80 fixed-penalty notice issued by officers.
Return visits revealed that the works were being continued and that untaxed, damaged, dismantled and stripped vehicles were being kept on the road and overhanging the footpath, often with sharp-edged jagged metal bodywork that could prove hazardous to passers-by. On several occasions, cars had been left up on jacks, in a dangerous position.
The premises is located near, and on a busy through route to, the St James the Great Primary School and Nursery, and is passed by lots of young children and families, both in the mornings and afternoons. Officers feared that harm could befall them.
In mitigation, Chaudhry told the court that when he had taken over the business he was unaware of the law prohibiting the working of vehicles on the public highway. Once informed, he had tried to ensure that employees did not work on vehicles outside the premises. And he said that he had sent a cheque in payment of the fixed-penalty notice but that it had not arrived.
He told the court that he no longer owned the business, and that he was no longer resident at his former address at Hazel Close, Mitcham.
Andy Opie, Croydon Council’s director of safety, said: “This was a case of a local businessman flagrantly ignoring repeated warnings by council officers that what he was doing was both illegal and antisocial.
“His actions made life very difficult and unpleasant for people living nearby who, in addition to being put at risk by what was going on, often could not park their own vehicles near their homes because cars that Chaudhry was working on were taking any available spaces.”