How many Retrospective Applications can one company do at once? Answer 9! Where? Greendale Business Park!

In 2017 FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park, appealed against an “Enforcement Notice” against the removal of various industrial compounds and buildings at their Business Park, which they had built prior to obtaining planning permission.

They lost their appeal with the Planning Inspector, who stated in his report that FWS Carter and Sons had misinterpreted the East Devon Local Plan and that their interpretation was “patently wrong”.

But undaunted the company challenged the Inspectors decision in the High Court. Early last year the company lost the appeal in the High Court. The Judge’s decision also restricted the owners any further opportunity to appeal and them to pay all costs arising from the case.

The Company was required to return the area back to agricultural use, but it transpires that they imported soil and laid this over the concrete yards and simply reseeded it.

It remains to be seen if the covering the concrete is enough to satisfy the Planning Inspectors requirement that the land must return to agricultural use.

Lessons learnt?

So once bitten, twice shy you would have thought with substantial losses, large court fees and professional fees involved!!

Unfortunately, it would seem not, for this family run business. Now there are 9 applications which are known to have been or are in the process of building work before the Planning Applications were submitted.

18/2866/FUL. A retrospective planning application for a rear roller shutter door and concrete pad on the rear of an industrial building onto agricultural land at Unit 11 Hogsbrook Farm. This application is before East Devon’s Planning Committee on Tuesday 4 March.

19/0034/COU. A Retrospective Application at Hogsbrook East 6. A retrospective change of use from agricultural use to industrial. An interesting history to this one! Originally built for a gas pipeline contractors’ compound that had to be returned to agricultural use when the pipeline was completed. However, FWS Carter and Sons applied for planning permission to retain the secure compound for fruit farming. Instead of fruit-growing, Woodbury Carbreakers as tenants stored scrapped vehicles there instead! After 3 years and a court case they were eventually evicted by the Environment Agency, but the owners then used it for commercial storage. Their application for industrial use failed 3 years ago, but just before an Enforcement Notice was served in late 2018 they submitted a further application. But they withdraw it and submitted this latest application.

19/0035/COU. A Retrospective Application next to Hogsbrook East 6. Very similar to the previous application which was used for the gas pipeline company. FWS Carter and Sons submitted, what is called a “Certificate of Lawfulness” which in planning terms means that after 10 years of illegal use they would not require planning permission, to allow to continue operations. However, their own documents clearly stated that gas pipeline contractors had been tenants until July 2009. As this was classified at permitted lawful use the submission was refused. Just as the previous application prior to an “Enforcement Notice” was served as the previous site in late 2018 they submitted a further planning application. They again withdraw it, a submitted this further application.

19/0332/CPE. This was a submission of a “Certificate of Lawfulness” at Greendale unit 33A. Following the publication of the East Devon Villages Plan it was realised that this unit was outside the permitted “Employment Zone” for Greendale Business Park. This was because in its 15 years of operations, planning permission had never been applied for! Therefore, the Local Authority asked the company to summit the paperwork to legalise the operation.

19/043/FUL. A Retrospective Application for 3 Freezer storage pods at Compound 31. The compound is used by DHL Logistics for parcel distribution, but early last year after winning a distribution contract with Kentucky Fried Chicken they started frozen food distribution as well. Several residents living close by the noisy freezer units and hearing the loading and unloading during the night reported the problem to Environmental Health at East Devon. They suggested to the Planning Department that a retrospective application should be submitted.

19/0288/FUL. A Retrospective Application for an extension to Unit 10 at Hogsbrook Farm to extend an Industrial Building which sits on the Employment Boundary of Greendale Business Park. This would mean that the extended building would straddle the boundary between Industrial/Agricultural use.

18/2867/FUL. A Retrospective Application to extend Compound 62 beyond the Employment Boundary into agricultural and landscaping area. The area has been built up over recent years with inert waste material under an Environment Agency permit but it would seem the Company has gone beyond the permitted landfill area.

There are 2 further Retrospective Planning Applications due for extensions to Agricultural units that have been reported to the Enforcement Officer at East Devon District Council.

That’s nine Retrospective Applications in a row. Is that a record!!

And the Government still insist that Planning Authorities treat Retrospective Applications the same as any other Application!

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