A Powys man jailed on a fine told police he would not investigate the council
A POWYS landowner who spent Christmas behind bars after refusing to pay a court fine for breaching planning rules has been told police will not investigate his complaints about the council.
Eddie McIntosh, owner of Mellowcroft, just outside Llandegley, near Llandrindod Wells, was jailed in December 2020 for refusing to pay an £850 fine.
The 56-year-old was jailed at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court in December 2020 after being found guilty after a trial in February 2019 of 15 charges of breaching planning laws by failing to comply with notices execution of the planning served upon him by Powys County Council.
He was ordered to pay £850 within 12 months or 28 days in jail – but refused to pay the fine – claiming before his sentencing hearing that his “bags were packed”. He served half that sentence at HMP Cardiff.
Mr McIntosh had hoped an investigation by Dyfed Powys Police would lead to him being vindicated, but has now been told the force will not be carrying out a criminal investigation.
“Police have received an allegation and thorough investigations have been carried out, including a review by a specialist department and initial consultation with the Crown,” Dyfed Powys Police said in a statement.
“Investigations have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to initiate criminal proceedings. No further police action will be taken at this time.”
“Accountability and transparency is all I ask for,” said Mr McIntosh, who previously revealed his fight against the council cost him his marriage.
“While the council closes local primary schools, depriving communities of vital assets, they have wasted money trying to destroy my smallholding.
“They could have kept the Dolau School running for many years with what they spent on this vicious and brutal pursuit.
“I lost everything, and it was for nothing. There has never been a case to answer. They sent me to jail during a pandemic, and for what? It is time for the board to answer for the way it acted. They’re just bullies and I’m the little guy who unexpectedly stood up to them and called them out.
Eco-entrepreneur Mr McIntosh bought Mellowcroft, a smallholding formerly known as Rowton Farm, at auction in 2006, following a documentary program he was involved in which restored derelict properties.
He planned to turn the Radnorshire property into a natural holistic retreat – initially making changes such as building a recycling point, a fire pit and a pallet walkway across a ditch.
Council served its first enforcement notice in December 2013, and at a public inquiry in 2015 the Planning Inspectorate reached a split decision on Mellowcroft’s 18 alleged planning failures. Three of the 18 charges were dropped at the 2019 trial.
In January 2016, Mr McIntosh was advised that the site could be used for agricultural purposes, but the inspection ruled that the development was not permitted for recreational purposes.
Mr McIntosh now plans to stand in Powys County Council and Community Council elections this week – campaigning for the parish of Penybont and Llandegley – although his name will not appear on the ballot in either neighborhoods.
A spokesman for Powys County Council said: ‘County Council completely denies Mr McIntosh’s allegations of a malicious prosecution by the planning department.
“The issues surrounding Mellowcroft have been tested through the full planning process, including an independent planning inspection hearing and the courts. Each time they were fired.
“Mr. Mcintosh built wooden structures to create a rural retreat in Mellowcroft, which had no planning permission. He did not have planning permission to live on the site and use it for residential purposes.
“An investigation by planning officers led to council issuing two enforcement notices against the development in March 2015. A retrospective development application was refused in July 2015.
“Mr McIntosh appealed both enforcement notices, which were heard by an independent town planning inspector who in January 2016 said the site could be used for agricultural purposes, but ruled that the development had no permission for recreational purposes, including use as a retreat or for residential purposes.
“Mr. Mcintosh continued to defy the town planning inspector’s decision and the two enforcement notices by continuing to use Mellowcroft as his residence and failing to remove an RV and the various wooden structures he had built.
“This led him to be prosecuted by the municipality for non-compliance with town planning execution notices. He was convicted of 18 counts under the Planning Act 1990 by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court following a four-day trial.
“He was granted 12 months parole on three counts and was fined £50, reduced by £100, for each of the remaining changes, bringing the total to £750. He was ordered to pay the fine over the next 12 months and if he did not pay.
“He was imprisoned following an accusation of non-payment of a fine imposed by the justice as part of his sentence.
“A new planning application for the conversion and change of use of a wellness cabin into rural enterprise accommodation was submitted by Mr McIntosh in October 2019 and was approved by Council in January 2020. ”