Driveway company ordered to pay over £33,000 following fly-posting, waste and highway offences

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A dropped kerb under construction

BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd, a company trading from an address in Horfield in Bristol, has been ordered to pay a total of £33,284 in fines and costs after South Gloucestershire Council prosecuted them for a number of offences.

Representatives of the company failed to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday 13 May, where they were found guilty in their absence of offences including fly-posting, failing to have a waste carriers notice and highway disturbances. They were handed a total of £29,500 in fines, ordered to pay £1,784 in costs and a £2,000 victim surcharge, making a total of £33,284 which is to be paid within 14 days.

The court heard that the council’s Environmental Enforcement Team first became aware of BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd via Street Enforcement officers and Streetcare operatives recovering numerous advertising boards that had been placed illegally on council owned street furniture and infrastructure. The company was subject to the ‘three strike’ process for fly-posting where they were contacted by way of letter twice and advised that a third occasion would result in prosecution.

On 10 October 2023, the council received a report of multiple advertising boards belonging to BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd being distributed in the Southey Avenue area in Kingswood. An officer attended and boards were removed from chevron signs on nearby roads. Enforcement officers attended later the same day and found further advertising boards attached to fencing, railings, and street furniture. Three men were found working on behalf of BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd at an address on Southey Avenue. A small digger had been used to remove the old top surface of the driveway which had been piled up awaiting collection. The officer asked who was in charge and was given a telephone number for Jason McDonagh. After calling the number, he was approached by a man who announced himself as Martin McDonagh, the company Director, who was advised that the advertising boards had been placed illegally and that they he would be issued a fixed penalty notice (FPN) for fly-posting.

A short time later Jason McDonagh arrived in a BD Bespoke lorry. Neither men would provide proof of identification for the service of a FPN. Eventually Martin McDonagh agreed to attend the council offices with some identification to take the FPN on behalf of the company. Jason McDonagh began to load the waste soil and hardcore from the address into the rear of the lorry. During the course of the morning a total of 32 advertising boards were recovered from Southey Avenue and the adjoining streets. Martin McDonagh failed to attend the council offices to receive the FPN.

After waste generated as part of the business was seen being removed from the address at Southey Avenue, enquiries were conducted through the Environment Agency database to ascertain if there was any waste carriers licence issued against the company name or either of Martin or Jason McDonagh. No record was found, indicating that no waste carriers licence was in place.

Officers then conducted enquiries at the addresses listed on the Companies House website for BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd to serve a Producer Notice, under Section 34 Environmental Protection Act 1990, for the examination of their waste transfer notes and proof of a waste carriers’ licence. No evidence of the business was found at either the registered address or trading address.

On Thursday 11 January 2024 an officer attended the home address of Martin McDonagh at Meadow View, Shortwood. He was met by an adult female who confirmed it was Martin’s address and that he was her brother. The officer gave her the Producer Notice for Martin McDonagh to provide proof of the waste carriers licence for the company and the last two years’ worth of waste transfer notes. The deadline for complying with the Producer Notice was 25 January 2024. Nothing was provided and no communication with the council took place.

On 26 October 2023 the council became aware of work being completed by BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd at an address in Lower Hanham Road, Kingswood. It was reported that they were digging away the entire grass verge and installing a dropped kerb. No record of a dropped kerb application could be found. The resident was advised that the work was required to stop due to no permissions being in place. BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd had acted outside the scope of their permitted works and in contravention of Section 131A Highways Act 1980.

On 14 February 2024 the council became aware of work by BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd, this time on Station Road, Mangotsfield. They had been seen completing work to the actual highway outside the address and no permissions were in place for a dropped kerb application. A council officer met two workers on site who passed on details for the person in charge, who was called and advised that the work was unlawful and had to stop immediately. The resident told the council that the salesperson for BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd had asked if Local Highways consent was in place, to which they confirmed they didn’t. The salesperson then advised them not to worry as BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd would sort it out for them.

Again the work completed by the company was contrary to Section 131A Highways Act due to land owned by South Gloucestershire Council having been dug up and affected adversely. In fact, in this case, the work would never have been approved due to the nature of the utilities underground and it was also noted that BD Bespoke Driveways Ltd had dug away at the base of a lamp post column affecting its safety and integrity.

Councillor Sean Rhodes, cabinet member responsible for environmental enforcement at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I’m pleased to see the court hand out a significant fine for this prosecution, which saw several council teams working together across the numerous offences. The company flouted a number of laws and continued to display their lack of engagement by not even turning up to court.

“Residents’ must ensure that they follow the correct process for dropped kerb applications and that they get advice on the right contractor. Anyone seeking to have a dropped kerb or having driveway work completed must check that they are using a reputable company. If in doubt, consider calling your local Trading Standards team for further advice.”

Residents who see illegal fly-posting or highway work are encouraged to report it by contacting the council’s StreetCare helpdesk on 01454 868000, emailing streetcare@southglos.gov.uk or visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/report

For further information about requesting a dropped kerb visit https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/request-a-vehicular-dropped-kerb/