A former Bradley Stoke district councillor and town mayor has been prosecuted for breaching building regulations by the local authority where he served as vice-chair in 2011/12.
The prosecution was brought by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) against Ben Walker (a builder trading as Monkeyfist Construction), 40, of Ferndene Road, Bradley Stoke after he was found to have ignored building regulations and carried out unsatisfactory work at a property in Yate.
Walker was ordered to pay a total of £11,689 in fines and costs after being found guilty of breaching the rules.
The court heard that Walker carried out building work to extend a property in Yate and had assured the homeowners that he could deliver the project within their budget before Christmas 2017. However, after some months, the homeowners noticed little progress given the length of time passed and amount of money exchanged from them to the builder.
The homeowners sought the advice of an independent builder, which ultimately led to alerting South Gloucestershire Council’s Building Control team that no application had been made for the work. A number of serious failures were found with the construction design and build and these required significant remedial work to ensure the stability and weather resistance of the building.
The case was heard at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 16th January. Walker was found guilty in his absence and was convicted of five charges, receiving a £2,000 fine for each. He was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,519 and a victim surcharge of £170, bringing the combined total to £11,689.
Cllr Paul Hughes, SGC’s Cabinet member responsible for communities and tourism, said:
“This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring the correct route is followed when undertaking any building work. Construction is a complex arena where unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of customers’ unfamiliarity with legislation, and profit from cutting corners. If a contractor, homeowner or member of public are not sure of their responsibilities then they should contact our Building Control team and we will offer help and guidance to all of our residents.”
Residents who see or are affected by illegal building works are encouraged to report it by telephoning 01454 868004 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The building control process exists to make sure that buildings are properly designed and constructed. For more info visit www.southglos.gov.uk/buildingcontrol
Walker served as a Bradley Stoke town councillor from 2007 to 2015 and was town mayor in 2010/11 and 2011/12. He was elected to represent Bradley Stoke North ward on South Gloucestershire Council in 2011 and served as the authority’s vice-chair in 2011/12.
He defected from the Conservatives to Ukip in 2012, but was unsuccessful in seeking re-election for the Bradley Stoke North ward in 2015.
This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 9). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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