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Patong Municipality found guilty over illegal hotel construction

PHUKET: Patong Municipality has confirmed that it has not fulfilled a court order to issue a notice for the Andakira Hotel to remove all structures that exceed the original building permit issued seven years ago despite a court ruling that has found Patong Municipality and the Office of the Patong Mayor guilty of failing to perform their duties in ensuring that the original building permit was adhered to.

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By The Phuket News

Monday 12 March 2018, 09:31AM


Instead, Somchai Neitibumroong, head of the Patong Municipality Legal Division, told The Phuket News on Thursday (Mar 8) that his office has filed an appeal against the decision.

“We filed an appeal on Jan 24,” Mr Somchai said.

Mr Somchai explained the differences in construction as negligible, that only the number of arches on the rooftop level of one of the Andakira Hotel buildings did not confirm to the building permit.

“One building was to have seven floors and six arched spaces with a swimming pool on the rooftop, the other building was to have seven floors with only three arched spaces with a swimming pool on the rooftop,” he said.

“But with this second building Andakira illegally made seven floors with seven arched spaces. This was not the same as the Andakira Group applied to Patong Municipality for, and Patong Municipality legal officials issued a warning to Andakira Group about the deviation from the plans – but Andakira Group did not follow the law,” Mr Somchai said.

However, a copy of the court judgement obtained by The Phuket News shows that the court was aware of major discrepancies of the location of the building on the site in the permit and where it is now located.

Specifically, one building in question was to be no more less 4.8 metres from the boundary of the property, but now sits just 3.2m from the fence.

Also in dispute is the building’s height, which now stands 27.9m tall.

Mr Somchai did not recognise these issues. He also refused to present to The Phuket News a copy of the original building permit approved to support his claims.

Marked plainly in the court judgement, handed down on Dec 26, is that the Office of the Patong Mayor was given 120 days to ensure that the structures not included in the approved building permit are removed.

No definition of exactly which structures are to be removed was given.

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“Of course we were found guilty, but it is not highest court process. We have right to appeal,” Mr Somchai insisted.

Mr Somchai admitted to The Phuket News that Patong Municipality took no further action other than to issue one warning notice.

“We have not issued any warning or filed any notice after the warning we issued on Nov 25, 2011,” he said.

“We did our job in accordance with the Public Works Act. We are just waiting for the Supreme Court. I don’t know when the court will call us for this appeal,” he said.

Again, oddly, Mr Somchai did not recognise that the court in its judgement noted that it was already aware that Patong Municipality had issued the warning to Andakira Group – and yet the court still found Patong Municipality guilty of failing to perform its duty.

Mr Somchai also did not clarify whether the appeal was against Patong Municipality failing to perform its duty in upholding building laws in Phuket’s most-lucrative tourism town, or against the B250,000 plus 7.5% per annum interest since the day the lawsuit was filed, some six years ago, that the court ordered Patong Municipality to pay the plaintiff, the company of a long-term Phuket expat who has lived in Patong nigh on 20 years, in compensation.

“I can’t give you the document or any further statement about it.” Mr Somchai said.

Of note, current Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup was not in office during the period in question.

“This issue concerns between Andakira Group and P. Hanna Co Ltd. We were not involved with this, and the Andakira Group has accepted to take this responsibility of these damages and deal with it,” Mr Somchai said.

The Phuket News has yet to confirm with the Andakira Group that it has accepted to pay the compensation ordered by the court. Previous requests by The Phuket News for the Andakira Group to comment on the issue were declined.

 

 

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Discover Thainess | 12 March 2018 - 10:51:09

Everything is flexible in thailand. Again, it’s no wonder no one takes any notice of any rules when there is no enforcement. 

Rattlez | 12 March 2018 - 09:54:16

"Specifically, one building in question was to be no more than 4.8 metres from the boundary of the property, but now sits just 3.2m from the fence"
So thats within the specs then.

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