STRATFORD District Council has been granted permission to take enforcement action against a couple who converted a garage into a residential dwelling.
The garage in Long Itchington has been permanently occupied since 2012.
The owners of the property did not seek planning permission at the time, only making an application for a Certificate of Lawful Use and Development (CLEUD) in December 2016.
The council says this was the first time it became aware of the change of use, and the couple who owned the property had breached planning laws and deliberately concealed the change.
The four-year period during which the council would normally have been able to take enforcement action for an unauthorised change of use expired on in April 2016.
But where deliberate concealment is involved the council can apply to the courts for a planning enforcement order which enables officers to pursue enforcement action.
At a hearing at Nuneaton Magistrates Court, magistrates accepted that a breach of planning control had taken place and granted the enforcement order.
The court also awarded costs of £7,145 to the council.
Coun Simon Lawton, chairman of the regulatory committee, said: “Planning regulations are there to protect against unauthorised development.
“The council will consider this court process to prevent breaches becoming immune from enforcement action where a breach has been deliberately concealed to avoid enforcement action.”