Charedi wins battle to keep loft

A diamond wholesaler has avoided a hefty fine after facing a rare criminal prosecution following a lengthy planning dispute with a council.

David Kahn, 59, has been at loggerheads with Haringey Council for six years over alterations made to a home he owns in Tottenham, north London.

His son, Mordechai, lives at the house with his wife and four children.

The council launched criminal proceedings after the family failed to downscale a loft extension, built in contravention of planning permission.

Mr Kahn admitted one charge of failing to comply with an enforcement notice. Judge Jeff Blackett ordered him to pay £2,500 costs and gave him an 18-month conditional discharge at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday.

The court could have imposed an unlimited fine, or ordered the house to be returned to its original format, at a cost to the family of around £80,000.

Such a result could have had serious implications for other Charedi families involved in planning disputes with the authority.

Ita Symons, chief executive of the Agudas Israel Housing Association, said the result would prove to be “excellent news” for the community.

“Mr Kahn’s life has been shattered by the awful council. They wanted to use this as a test case to beat other Jewish families. This was a beating which Haringey deserved,” she said.

“Justice prevailed. Haringey has neglected its duties to the community for so long. They singled out the Jewish community. We are so relieved by the outcome.”

    Last updated: 2:16pm, April 23 2009