‘I moved out of the path of HS2, but now the council may bulldoze my business’
IF businessman Tony Shaw had been a farmer instead of a catering and hygiene supplier, he would almost certainly not be facing a visit from council enforcement officers.
In May, Tony and his wife Sarah decided to move from Kenilworth to Longbridge after realising their storage warehouse would be in the path of the proposed high speed railway.
Instead they invested in a farmhouse at Longbridge which stood next to a semi-derelict Dutch barn with a concrete floor and open sides.
Even though they needed triple-glazing to block the noise of the nearby M40, Tony thought the nearby barn would be perfect for his storage needs and invited Warwick District Council planning officer Penny Butler to discuss filling in the sides.
“We rented the site at first because we knew if we couldn’t get planning permission then there was no point,” said 45-year-old Tony.
But after outlining his proposals to keep the barn watertight, Tony understood he’d been given a verbal nod of agreement provided an environmental survey had been approved.
After checking this had been approved and submitting his application, Tony went ahead with covering the sides of the barn with green -timber. He’d put up 60 foot of it up before being shocked to learn his application had been rejected because it breached a clause about agricultural use and developments fitting in with their backgrounds.
“Basically if I was keeping cows in the barn I’d be okay to clad the sides. Nobody told me that because I’m storing loo rolls I couldn’t do it. Now the council’s enforcement department is threatening to have my warehouse pulled down, destroying a small business and our livelihood.
“I thought the government was supposed to be supporting small businesses and relaxing planning laws.”
When contacted, planning officer Penny Butler agreed that the cladding might well have been more acceptable if Mr Shaw was to keep cows.
She added: “We can never give a definite yes or no answer to a planning application until we receive that application and it goes through policy. Mr Shaw does have the option of appealing.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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