A SUPERMARKET giant has escaped a huge fine despite admitting demolishing a row of 300 year-old cottages in Knutsford.

The cottages – named Caesars Place – were located behind the Brook Street site being developed by Aldi, and consisted of a row of cottages dating from the 18th century.

They were put on a watch list of historical Knutsford buildings in September 2009, but in July 2010 developers working on behalf of the firm demolished the buildings despite not having permission to do so.

In July 2010 Cheshire East Council told the Guardian it was exploring legal options after the buildings were demolished.

But this week the borough authority said it was too expensive to begin the action against the German supermarket chain, and admitted council funds could be better spent.

A Cheshire East Council spokesman said: “As we have said previously, the council should have been given prior notification by the developer before these cottages were demolished so that the method of demolition could be controlled.

“It was for this reason that Cheshire East Council considered taking formal enforcement action in relation to breaches of planning control.

“However, enforcement costs many thousands of pounds and, on this occasion, it was decided that this would not be the best use of council funds to retrospectively enforce.”

The buildings were named Caesars Place after the Caesar family, father and son, Henry and Julius, who produced summerhouses for King Edward VII.

Their craftsmanship can also be found in a number of gardens in Cheshire.

Clr Andrew Malloy, from Knutsford Conservation and Heritage group, said: “It’s a difficult process for Cheshire East to go through, and we have suggested to Aldi for them to put a sculpture to remind people what was there before – or even a replica of the arch that was in front of the cottages.

“The galling thing is that they aren’t actually using that land for anything and won’t be building on it.”

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