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Driving school faces setback

June 9, 2018 11:31 AM
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DRIVING school owners in Broad Town have been told to stop using part of their property for business purposes.

Sue Howe of Sue’s Driving school and her husband Simon are appealing to a planning inspector after they were issued a notification of enforcement by Wiltshire Council for a breach of planning control.

The authority instructed them to stop using it to train drivers and remove training vehicles from the disputed site.

It comes after angry neighbours objected to the increasing size of the school which now offers HGV training.

A spokesman for the council said: “A long-running enforcement investigation was served to protect the visual and residential amenity of the area.”

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Mr and Mrs Howe were given four months to either comply with the notice or submit a planning application to continue operating their business at its current size. However they claim there has been no planning breach. Approached by the Advertiser Mrs Howe said she was not prepared to comment except to say that there was an appeal.

In 2016 the couple applied for a certificate of lawfulness to gain permission to train drivers on their land. Once a property has been used for a mix of residential and business purposes for 10 years or more, permission to continue can be granted through the certificate.

However, the council rejected the application because the school had not been operating on the land in the application for that length of time.

Rod Fouracres was among residents who objected to the application in 2016. In his objection he said: “Without doubt this activity has increased from a simple and acceptable car driving school to what it has developed into today – a heavy goods driver training school.”

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Another neighbour said: “The access to and from the site onto what is a country lane is wholly inappropriate and has on numerous occasions caused problems for other drivers.”

And Adrian Gowing wrote: “This application is fallacious. It does not mention the covert exploitation of these premises as a lorry park and instead seeks retroactive approval for the original driving school to divert attention from the change in use.”

Planning agents for the couple said: “It is noted that some of those contesting the use have not by their own admission apparently lived in the area for the last 10 years so are not in a position to cast doubt on the longevity of use. While a number of neighbours might be unhappy with the use and the types of vehicles being used, this is not the issue here.”

Comments on the appeal can be made by July 3 to the inspectorate at Temple Quay House, Bristol or online via planningportal.gov.uk/pcs.

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Source: swindonadvertiser.co.uk

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