Saturday, 21 October 2017

Building firms told they can no longer use trading estate

TWO businesses have been refused planning permission to continue operating from the Manor Farm trading estate in Peppard.

TWO businesses have been refused planning permission to continue operating from the Manor Farm trading estate in Peppard.

Manor Mix Concrete made a retrospective application while Clemson Demolition sought permission for three parking spaces for lorries and to retain storage units.

The applications were made after South Oxfordshire District Council issued notices of intent to prosecute the firms in February.

Both businesses were found to have changed the use of agricultural land without permission and were threatened with enforcement action.

The companies said they would relocate to the central area of the estate and sought temporary permission for 18 months.

Peppard Parish Council opposed the plans, saying it was concerned about more lorries using the estate and the danger posed to children at Peapods nursery, which is also based at Manor Farm.

The council claimed the application for temporary consent was designed to get round planning regulations.

It said: “This request for temporary permission is clearly intended to extend the current unauthorised activity to the 10-year point at which time it would be claimed that it had been allowed to continue without material interruption.”

The council pointed out that an inspector who carried out a planning inquiry in 2011 had already said the firms’ activities were unlawful because of the “uncharacteristic nature of the use of the location”. Adrian Duffield, head of planning at the district council, said permission was refused because “the open yard use is contrary to the rural character of the site and its surroundings and harmful to the distinctive character of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

He said the two firms had been carrying out industrial activities on the agricultural land surrounding the estate.

Mr Duffield continued: “The use is not capable of operating from the site in a way that does not result in either the loss of adequate on-site parking and circulating space or the displacement of other activities on to the surrounding countryside.”

Parish council chairman David Hammond said he hoped the district council would now take enforcement action and he was frustrated that it hadn’t already done so. He said: “Once it became clear that the district council was intent on pursuing this with possible prosecutions, only then did the firms make the applications in an attempt to buy time. We would like to see them stop using the land for purposes that the planning inquiry said they shouldn’t be using it for. The inspector was clear that it was an unsuitable location.”

A district council spokesman said: “We have issued a number of planning enforcement notices in order to ensure that various industrial activities located at Manor Farm do not encroach on to adjacent agricultural land.

“In order to guarantee that the enforcement notices are complied with it has been necessary, on several occasions, to warn various occupiers that their failure to comply may result in prosecution.”

He said the council hoped the terms of the outstanding enforcement notice would be complied with.

The companies refused to comment.

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