Council officials investigating the estate where Dominic Cummings’ lockdown cottage was based found ‘historic breaches of planning and building control regulations’ but said no further action would be taken.
Durham County Council received a series of complaints about the properties on his parents’ farm, on the outskirts of Durham City, where the Downing Street adviser stayed after he and his wife suffered coronavirus symptoms.
Cummings told a news conference that the building was ‘an isolated cottage’ roughly 50 metres from his parents’ home, and described it as ‘sort of concrete blocks’.
But an exposé by the Universal Credit Sufferer blog found his parents bought the farm in 1999 and records on the county council planning portal show that permission was granted two years later for the erection of a pitched roof structure over an existing swimming pool.
In subsequent years, permission has also been granted to fell trees.
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Now the council has confirmed the claims, but said that it would be taking no further action due to the historical nature of the breaches.
It will, however, be passing on complaints made about council tax to a separate council department for consideration.
Stuart Timmiss, head of development and housing at Durham County Council, said: ‘We have now investigated the complaints regarding planning permission.
‘While there have been historic breaches of planning and building control regulations, current legislation places a time limit on any enforcement measures and as a result no further action will be taken.
‘The investigation concluded that the main house has not been sub-divided and that the residential use of an outbuilding for family accommodation does not require planning permission.
‘However, advice has been provided in relation to building control.
‘We have also looked into the complaints raised in respect of non-payment of Council Tax and will be passing our findings on to the Valuation Office for its consideration and review.’