In May 2016 Thurrock Council issued a defective Enforcement Notice. The Council then spent in excess of three years failing to respond to correspondence seeking recuperation of the recipients costs spent in their defence against the notice. The Council’s decision to ignore the award of costs has resulted in Thurrock tax payers having to foot a considerable bill of £24,029.01.

Smart Planning lodged an appeal against the enforcement notice and a hearing opened on 3 May 2017. At the hearing, the Inspector raised a number of matters concerning the notice, following which the Council withdrew the notice. On the day of the hearing, Smart Planning made an application for a full award of costs against Thurrock Council on the basis of demonstrable unreasonable behaviour. The Inspector allowed the full award of costs.

Thurrock Council has since failed to respond to all correspondence seeking recuperation of the appellant’s costs. Resultantly, Holmes & Hills solicitors, acting on behalf of the appellant, had to serve a Court Order in 2019 converting the Inspector’s award into a Court Judgment. Still Thurrock Council would not take responsibility. In the circumstances, the only option left was for Holmes & Hills to produce a formal Bill of Costs. The Bill of Costs was served on Thurrock Council with a formal Notice of Commencement.

The deadline for the Council to respond to the Notice of Commencement came and went on 19 April 2021 and as such Holmes & Hills necessarily then had to apply to the Senior Costs Court for a Default Costs Certificate.

Having waited some 801 days since the date of the initial order in February 2018, the appellant finally received their due recompense from Thurrock Council on 7 June 2021, but not without still further chasing to both the Head of Legal and the Leader of the Council.

Had the Council not pursued an ill-conceived enforcement notice in the first place, there would have been no bill payable by Thurrock tax payers. Had the Council paid within a reasonable time period, the bill payable by Thurrock tax payers would have been £17,495.35. However, the Council’s decision to ignore the award of costs for such a considerable period of time has resulted in a substantially larger final bill of £24,029.01, wholly unnecessarily.

17 June 2021