‘Economic shock’ caused by coronavirus cited as reason why landowner should be allowed to keep storing vehicles and caravans
The “economic shock” caused by the coronavirus has been cited as a reason why a Flintshire landowner should be allowed to keep storing vehicles and caravans on his farm.
Stuart Hall, of Wood Farm in Sealand, was previously denied permission to use the site for the temporary storage of cars and vans.
Flintshire Council said the change of use would be inappropriate because of the plot being allocated as green barrier land, while an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was also dismissed.
However, the local authority later issued an enforcement notice against Mr Hall after it was discovered the farm was being used to store a large amount of mobile homes regardless of use.
The reasons highlighted include the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on rural enterprises.
In an appeal statement, planning agent Peter Lloyd said: “Some 164 caravan/motorhome/secure pitches or thereabouts are provided at the site by the operator securecaravanstorage.com. These are marked out and numbered on the land.
“The income from this to both farm and the tenant operator directly serves the farm through diversifying its income sources and to the operator’s turnover. It supports employment within that business.
“The implications of Covid-19 are as yet unknown and unquantified. Even at this early stage it is reasonable to assume the initial economic shock, aftershock and the need to sustain the economy as Wales emerges from its impacts should carry significant weight.
“Requiring a SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) operation to cease a modest operation in this location in the short term will significantly increase financial pressure on the farm and operator business.”
The appeal document highlights that there are around 60 trailers kept on the land, which are not mentioned in the enforcement notice issued by the council in Februry this year.
As a result, Mr Lloyd argued that the storage of trailers should be allowed to continue.
The notice sent out by the authority irequires Mr Hall to permanently remove all vehicles, motorhomes and caravans from the site.
He was also told to remove an area of hardstanding, as well as security fencing.
The appeal will be decided by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government at a later date.
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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