Saturday, 13 August 2022

Former car dealer told he can't use old pub as home

A FORMER car dealer has been ordered to stop living at a former pub.

Graham Granaski, 67, has lost an appeal against an enforcement notice issued by South Oxfordshire District Council because he was using the Lamb Inn in Satwell as a home without planning permission.

The decision by a planning inspector means he must stop living there or will face further action to evict him.

It comes nine months after Mr Granaski was convicted of careless driving after crashing into another car and fleeing the scene.

He bought the pub in 2013 from the previous owners, who included TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson, proprietor of the Greyhound pub in Peppard.

It had been closed after two former owners went bankrupt.

The pub had fallen into disrepair and Mr Granaski submitted several planning applications for building work, including new rooms to let, a new kitchen and a landlord’s flat.

These were all turned down by the district council and then on appeal.

In 2013, the council investigated claims by residents that Mr Granaski was using the pub car park to store and sell used cars under the name Highland Cars.

He said he needed somewhere to store and sell the cars after selling his old business premises in order to buy the pub.

When the council began enforcement action Mr Granaski stopped selling cars from the site.

However, it then began investigating claims that he was using the pub as an unauthorised dwelling.

In 2015, Mr Granaski applied for planning permission to change the use of the property to residential, saying he could not run the pub as a viable business without substantial changes, including drainage improvements.

This application was also refused and when he appealed, the planning inspector supported the council’s decision, saying the plans would result in the “unacceptable loss of an essential community facility”.

A new enforcement notice was served in January last year. In his appeal, Mr Granaski claimed he had been living at the pub for four years before the enforcement notice, which meant he was exempt from enforcement action.

A letter from the previous owners said that he had been allowed access to the pub from December 12, 2012, while his purchase was being completed.

The council said that supporting documents with Mr Granaski’s previous applications did not mention that the property was being lived in and his 2015 application for change of use stated that the residential use of the pub had not yet started.

The council also claimed that he had behaved aggressively towards enforcement officers when they visited the pub, recording them on his mobile phone, and on several occasions they suspected him of being drunk.

In her decision, inspector Hilda Higenbottam said: “The evidence of when the appellant started to occupy the public house building for a residential use is, in my view, imprecise and ambiguous.

“Documentary evidence and contemporaneous written material does not support, and at times conflicts with, the oral evidence in relation to the first occupation of public house building for a solely residential use. However, it is clear that the appellant currently occupies the public house building for a residential use and the remainder of the planning unit is ancillary to that use.”

Mrs Higenbottam said the enforcement notice for storing cars at the site interrupted the use of the pub as a residential unit, meaning the four- year period began again when the notice was complied with.

She said: “Even if the appellant did start to use the public house for a solely residential use before his purchase of the appeal site, the use of the car park area for the use alleged in the 2014 notice interrupted any possible four-year continuous use period of the planning unit for residential use. As such, a new chapter in the planning history started when the car use began.

“Subsequently, the car use ceased and the use of the planning unit became solely residential.”

• In April 2016, Mr Granaski left Matthew Webb badly injured in a crash on the B481 at Peppard. He was later banned from driving for 15 months, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £775. Mr Granaski had two previous convictions for driving offences.

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