Lake councillors have welcomed the result of the Merrie Gardens court case, which saw businessman Louis William Tudor Smith found guilty of planning breaches.

More than four years after Smith first denied six counts of breaching planning notices, he represented himself at trial at the Isle of Wight Crown Court this week and last.

He also represented Merrie Gardens Ltd and Westover Park Estate Ltd - for which he is director.

Development work requiring planning permission had been carried out and waste materials were being stored on the site, which had been used as a dumping ground, the court heard.

Cllr Paul Brading said: “As Isle of Wight Council ward member, and chair of the parish council, I am delighted that this long drawn out process has finally been decided by a court of law, and the correct decision has been reached.

"I am grateful to the council officers who have followed the correct enforcement procedures, and to members of the public for their assistance in the gathering of evidence.

"In my opinion this whole situation could have easily been avoided if the correct process had been followed by the landowner in the first place.”

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Cllr Adrian Whittaker said: "I welcome the conclusion of the court case regarding the Merrie Gardens site.

"This site has vast potential for both Lake and the island if developed in the correct way. This should include tourism and leisure facilities.

"We need to find a way forward so that we can all work together for the future of this site and Lake."