Owner of Grade II-listed building hit with £50,000 fine for fitting new windows

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The old schoolhouse was used as an RAF base during the Second World War (Picture: SWNS)

The owner of a historic building’s decision to spruce the place up turned out to be a very costly error.

Malawi Nijar removed sash windows at the Grade II-listed Summerland Lodge in Kent – and earned himself a £50,000 fine in the process.

The Westgate-on-Sea property was built as a private prep school in 1906 and its original name was Doon House, according to Historic England.

It was occupied by officers from RAF Manston during the Second World War and given listed status in 2012.

The council took legal action following a long-running wrangle over compliance with regulations.

It is illegal to carry out internal or external works to a listed building without consent under the law.

Nijar was found guilty of the offence at Margate Magistrates Court on December 2 last year.

On June 6 he was fined £40,000 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

He also admitted failure to attend his trial in December, in contradiction of the Bail Act 1976, and was fined another £2,500.

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He was told to pay the council’s £7,560 of costs plus a £70 victim surcharge.

After the war it was bought by the Royal British Legion as a nursing and convalescent home and was renamed Maurice Lodge.

It later became the head office of a construction company and in the mid-1980s it became a nursing home called Summerlands Lodge.

Council officers will inspect the property again in August and Nijar could be hauled back to court if the work has not been done.

The council said it takes a ‘strong approach’ to anyone who carries out unauthorised work on a listed building.

It said: ‘We advise anyone wanting to carry out works on a listed building to seek advice from our planning department.’

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