TWO companies which flouted planning laws and failed to properly landscape their new £3 million Westhoughton headquarters have been fined £7,000 each by Bolton magistrates.

Walter Forshaw (Holdings) Ltd and Malrod Holdings Ltd both pleaded guilty to breaching a planning enforcement notice issued by Bolton Council in October last year which required them to complete the landscaping scheme around their premises in James Street.

Magistrates were told how, in February, 2007, Walter Forshaw was given planning permission to put up office buildings, workshops and warehousing, together with car parking and service yard at Stotts Park, James Street.

Nicola Raby, prosecuting for Bolton Council , said one of the conditions of the permission was that landscaping had to be carried out before building work started to help screen the site from homes to its south.

But the company did not do this and in May, 2008, sold part of the site to Malrod Holdings Ltd.

Mrs Raby said that despite efforts by the council, no planting scheme was submitted until November, 2010.

However, there continued to be no work to landscape the embankment at the south of the property and the council issued an enforcement notice in October last year.

The court heard that the companies claimed poor weather had been to blame for the failure to complete the work.

John Dyne, defending both companies, said both had suffered due to the economic downturn, with Malrod struggling due to bad debts and Walter Forshaw’s overdraft facility being reduced.

He added that the development was now worth considerably less than the £3m it was valued at when it was built and admitted that the companies had probably “taken their eye off the ball” when it came to getting the landscaping completed.

Walter Forshaw’s building is used as a base for its demolition business and Malrod is headquarters for its asbestos removal firm.

Magistrates decided to fine each business £7,000 and a £15 victim surcharge. Walter Forshaw’s was also ordered to pay £1,114 prosecution costs and Malrod £607 prosecution costs.

The chairman of magistrates told representatives of the firms that they had a responsibility to shield their development from neighbouring properties but had failed to do so despite carrying out landscaping work to the front of their buildings to make it look attractive.

“You must protect residents from the eyesore and noise of the development. This should have been your first priority. You have had ample opportunity to complete this work,” he said.