A Ventnor businessman has been found unanimously guilty of breaching Isle of Wight Council planning enforcement notices by jurors at crown court today (Wednesday, November 29).

Louis William Tudor Smith, of Marlborough Road, had been attending his Isle of Wight Crown Court trial since last Monday (November 20).

He denied six counts of breaching planning notices issued in April 2019 and had been representing himself, as well as Merrie Gardens Ltd and Westover Park Estate Ltd - for which he is director.

Between October 31, 2020, and April 27, 2021, Mr Smith failed to comply with the council's enforcement notice, which would have seen waste removed and land regraded and re-seeded at Merrie Gardens, located behind Premier Inn and KFC off Newport Road in Lake.

Isle of Wight County Press: The site at Merrie Gardens in LakeThe site at Merrie Gardens in Lake (Image: Contributions)

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Duncan Milne, for the local authority, previously told the jury that planning officer Paula Debenham visited the site in February 2019 and found that development work requiring planning permission had been carried out and waste materials were being stored on site.

The land had been used as a "dumping site," Mr Milne said, and a further inspection in May 2019 found a change in levels of the land and evidence of additional materials being brought in.

Smith claimed lots of people fly-tipped on the site during Covid and showed the jury photographic evidence of a truck trespassing on his land. He had no photographic evidence of anyone dumping material. 

“Mr Smith is not someone who takes kindly to something not going his way,” Mr Milne told the jury during his final statement yesterday (Tuesday), “and this man had his nose significantly out of joint.

“His policy is build, build, build, deflect, deflect, deflect, blame, blame, blame.”

Smith appealed to the jury not to give a guilty verdict during his statement, saying: "To convict me today is to say I connived, lied and cheated.

“If you find me guilty, I will be a felon, banned from seven countries, does that sound fair?”

He also stated his intention to appeal should the jury's decision return as guilty.

The jury unanimously decided that Smith was guilty of all six charges, and he will be sentenced on January 4, 2024, at the crown court.