A FORMER mayor prosecuted for breaching an enforcement notice issued by his own council has said he is "very sorry".

Cllr Martin Hatley, along with Trevor Hatley, were both found guilty of breaching the notice asking them to stop storing items on land at Southampton Magistrates' Court. 

They were each ordered to pay a fine of £1,000 as well as a £100 victim surcharge and £1,994.37 for the council's costs.

READ MORE: Former mayor fined for planning notice breach in North Baddesley

The leader of the council, Cllr Philip North told the Echo that Cllr Hatley, ward member for Ampfield and Braishfield, is now expected to resign from the Conservative group.

He said: "It’s disappointing and totally unacceptable that a councillor of Cllr Hatley’s experience is in the position where he left the Council with no alternative but to prosecute him.

"Now that he has been found guilty he has indicated his intention to resign as a member of the Conservative group on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) and I expect written confirmation imminently.

"Clearly, Cllr Hatley’s behaviour has fallen below the standards expected of a Conservative councillor, so if his resignation is not forthcoming we will start proceedings to expel him.”

The former mayor had been suspended from the Conservative group.

The notice from TVBC was issued in July 2020 due to a breach of planning control relating to land at Wheelhouse Park, North Baddesley.

The notice required that the use of the land for all storage purposes must cease within six months with the removal of all associated items. 

But after the period of the notice ended on August 16, 2021 - and the items were not cleared - the case was taken to court. 

Daily Echo: Test Valley Borough Council offices.Test Valley Borough Council offices. (Image: Contributed)

Cllr Hatley told the Echo it was "always" his intention to comply with the council order but that this was "physically impossible" due to the Covid lockdown. 

He said construction materials, goods and 20ft storage containers had to be moved from the land to make way for the building of a new retirement village.

He said these were then put on land that had been used for storing building materials and sawmilling activities. 

Legal action did not help and the prosecution was "not really in the public interest," he said.

"I am however, of course, very sorry for any embarrassment that may have been caused", he said. 

Both men denied the charge and went to trial. Cllr Hatley, 68, of Baddesley Road, was sentenced on September 9 - as was Trevor Hatley, 74, also of Baddesley Road.

Daily Echo: Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Alan Dowden with mayoress Cllr Celia Dowden and Cllr Martin Hatley.Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Alan Dowden with mayoress Cllr Celia Dowden and Cllr Martin Hatley. (Image: Newsquest)Current Mayor and Lib Dem councillor, Alan Dowden - pictured in red robes next to Cllr Hatley - said as a former planning boss on the council, Cllr Hatley "understands planning inside out". 

"I'm surprised. (Residents) are going to be disappointed at the very least". 

He added that he does not know the circumstances of the breach but that it may have been an "oversight" on Hatley's behalf. 

Borough council withheld full name and position

THE court case - which took place the day after the Queen's death - was publicised by Test Valley Borough Council

But its press office did not include Councillor Martin Hatley's full name or that he was an elected official, instead choosing to refer to the defendants as "Mr M and Mr T Hatley". 

A spokesperson for the council told the Echo "there is nothing to be inferred from that" and that "it is simply the way the press release relating to these two individuals was drafted". 

He added the press release made no mention of Hatley's council role due to him being prosecuted as a "private individual".

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