A MAN who was ordered to pull down a garage he built without planning permission is back to square one after installing a shipping container in its place.

Durham County Council has confirmed it is investigating for a second time after Trevor Stephenson deposited the giant green container last week.

The father-of-four originally landed himself in hot water with the authority after building a garage at the front of his home in Harmire Road, Barnard Castle, in 2014.

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He applied to the authority for permission to retain the building work but was refused on the grounds that it was prominent, intrusive and harmful to the appearance of the area.

Mr Stephenson appealed the decision with the Planning Inspectorate in 2015 but his challenge was dismissed.

In February of that year, the council issued an enforcement notice ordering him to dismantle the garage, some brickwork, the wall and a fence, and to return the site to its previous state within eight weeks.

And despite an extension period to allow for the appeal to be concluded, he was charged with failing to comply with the notice.

He was then ordered to pay more than £800 following a two-year battle over the structure in 2016 when he was convicted of ignoring an enforcement notice ordering him to demolish the garage, boundary wall and raised terrace at his home.

Following his conviction, Mr Stephenson said he did not believe he needed planning permission as the garage stood at a certain height and was built within the border of his property.

The Northern Echo reported in October last year how the site had still not been returned to its original state and in February, bricks were seen scattered across the site adding to the foundations, fence, doors and three minibus seats previously seen where a replacement of the original hedge and picket fence were meant to be.

The council have since confirmed that Mr Stephenson did need planning permission for the container.

Stephen Reed, Durham County Council’s planning development manager, said: “We are aware of the issue in question and are currently investigating.

“Due to the ongoing nature of this matter, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.”

The Northern Echo made every attempt to contact Mr Stephenson but no reply was received by the time this article went to print.