Bar owner fined over alterations

Rooms created without permits

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 09:05 10/04/2014
Bertie Burleigh stand
ANDY JACKSON
Bertie Burleigh

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A New Plymouth bar owner has been fined for making illegal alterations to a building.

Bertie Bennett Burleigh had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the Building Act by altering the inside of a building and by permitting the use of a building that had inadequate means of escape from fire.

The charges were fines-only matters.

The work was carried out on the second and third levels above Burleigh's Egmont St bar, Peggy Gordon's. The changes did not involve the bar.

Yesterday Justin Marinovich, appearing for the New Plymouth District Council, said the aggravating factors included the premeditation in the offending.

He said that in September 2012 Burleigh had had discussions with the council about establishing backpacker-type accommodation above the bar but was told he would require building consent to carry out the work.

Burleigh went ahead with some work anyway, without developing a backpackers, and created 16 rooms, nine on level two of the building and seven on level three; several were occupied and being used as bedrooms.

The NPDC discovered what had been done in September 2013.

Defence lawyer Lauren Wallace said Burleigh took advice from three different building professionals who told him the work could go ahead without building permits.

Once Burleigh had been advised the work had been carried out illegally he had the rooms vacated.

Burleigh genuinely believed the work did not require consent and he had co-operated with authorities, Wallace said.

Judge Allan Roberts said common sense would suggest Burleigh should have at least checked with the authorities whether the work required consent.

The judge said he recognised Burleigh had made a mistake and was remorseful.

He fined Burleigh $3750 on each charge.

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