Council puts former Northampton mayor in the dock over fly-tipping hotspot
Councillor Nazim Choudary hit with £4,500 court bill over rubbish dumped on land he owned
Northampton Borough Council put its own Mayor in the dock after a disused plot of land he owned which became a fly-tipping hotspot back in 2019.
Labour councillor Nazim Choudary denied failing to comply with an order to clear rubbish and fix a fence to stop more dumping.
However, he was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay the council's costs of nearly £1,800 after being convicted by magistrates on Friday (June 25).
West Northamptonshire Council — which superseded the borough council in May — says Cllr Choudary was given written warnings in November 2019 and was then issued with a community protection notice less than three months later, in early February 2020.
But Cllr Choudary, who was town Mayor at the time, insisted he did not receive letters the council told him had been hand-delivered rather than sent by recorded delivery and he was unaware of the issue until court summons arrived.
He added: "I was the Mayor and in contact with the council's legal department on a regular basis.
"The way politics works is that if something like this was happening it would have been drawn to the attention of the party and the whips. But it wasn't.
"There are so many procedures to follow as Mayor, surely it would have come to someone's attention?"
Ironically, some of the rubbish found on the land was in Northampton Borough Council waste sacks.
Cllr Choudary added: "I’m very upset about what has happened. This isn’t about me fly-tipping — this is other people leaving rubbish on my land.
"I owned that land for 20 years and spent thousands getting it cleaned up.
"I replaced a 4ft fence with a 5ft fence and then a 6ft fence but they still managed to throw a fridge over it.
"Every time there is a bin collection the borough council waste left over ended up in my property.
"I got elected four times and was the sitting Mayor when this was going on — and this is not what I worked for, farmers and landowners being prosecuted for other people's waste.
"The root problem is the council charging people to visit tips and to have waste collected. People find it easier and cheaper to just throw it into somebody's garden or down a country lane."
Cllr Choudary, who has since sold the plot of land which had been earmarked for a bungalow, was first elected to represent St David’s and Kingsthorpe on the borough council in 2011 and became the youngest ever Northampton Mayor in 2019, aged 35.
In May, he won one of three seats on the new West Northamptonshire unitary authority in the hotly-contested Talavera ward as the Tories secured a whopping 66-27 overall majority on the new council.
Borough council neighbourhood wardens intervened following complaints from locals about the land becoming a magnet for fly-tipping during 2019 — a few months after Yorkshire-born Cllr Choudary became Mayor.
Fellow councillor David Smith, a Conservative cabinet member on the new West Northamptonshire Council, said, in a statement, that Cllr Choudary "unfortunately showed no willingness to engage with the Council, and took no steps to resolve the problem, leaving us with no option but to take this enforcement action."
He added: “We are always happy to work with private landowners who are the victims of fly-tipping, to offer advice and support so they can secure their land.
“But this prosecution should serve as a reminder that we will not hesitate to take action against someone where there is a need to do so, no matter their position or status.
"The rules apply to everyone.”