Millionaire faces having to tear down garage, skate park and tennis court he built without permission in Devon beauty spot

Lizzie Roberts
The Telegraph
The Gerston Point house caused planning permission issues in 2011, now the buildings on the adjoining farmland have been rejected by planners in a retrospective application - APEX
The Gerston Point house caused planning permission issues in 2011, now the buildings on the adjoining farmland have been rejected by planners in a retrospective application - APEX

A millionaire businessman is facing having to tear down a building, skateboard park and tennis court which he built without permission in a protected south Devon beauty spot.

Sean Thomas, founder of White Stuff a clothing and lifestyle brand, built a two-storey double garage on farmland behind his home at Gerston Point, which sits on the edge of the Kingsbridge estuary in the South Hams.

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He completed the work, which is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), without first applying for planning permission.

South Hams District Council were alerted to the buildings after members of the public spotted them from adjoining land and construction traffic was see clogging the lanes.

Mr Thomas and his wife submitted a retrospective application for change of use to the land, including a carport and storage building.

<span>The tennis court and building can be seen via satellite images.</span> <span>Credit: APEX </span>
The tennis court and building can be seen via satellite images. Credit: APEX

But planners have now rejected the application and forwarded it to the enforcement team, who will issue the business owner with notice to remove the buildings and return the land to its former condition.

Mr Thomas has eight weeks to appeal against the decision.

Cathy Koo, vice chair of the South Hams Society, said: “We welcome the decision that South Hams District Council has made to enforce this retrospective application, nobody is above the law, planning permission is in place for a reason.”

Mr Thomas told The Daily Telegraph he appreciates the “sensitivities” among some local people who feel “protective” over the area.

“I am again putting my trust in the professional advice I’m receiving and the planning process, which has some way to run. We will all have to wait and see what the eventual outcome is,” he said.

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