Shropshire landscaper upset after being ordered to shut down his base
A Shropshire businessman is upset after being issued with an enforcement notice by Telford & Wrekin Council and told he will have to cease using the base of his landscaping business.
Graham Davies, 39, said he was surprised to receive the notice telling him he was unauthorised to use the land off Rodenhurst Lane, Rodington for his business, Simply Green, because he did not have planning permission.
He says the work, which was done more than four years ago, has never received any complaints, and that Telford & Wrekin Council has not given him the chance to explain or apply for planning permission.
The council says the work is unsustainable and inappropriate, and does not address the needs of the rural community.
Mr Davies said: "They are not looking at what good it does for the community. I have not been given the opportunity to speak.
"The yard has been there nine years. It has been as it is for about five years.
"I have got support from every avenue. If I knocked on every door in Rodington, people would support me and my business.
"The council has just come out, seen there's a yard there and said 'we don't care what it is or what it's doing, we just want it gone'."
Under the notice, the council wants Mr Davies to cease using the land for the running of a landscape business, to remove all vehicles, items, earth and materials associated with it and remove the stone from the hardstanding area.
Mr Davies also needs to remove the earth bunds which he built to hide the business in an effort to retain the area's rural feel from nearby roads.
He has until February 6 to appeal the decision, and four months to do the work.
Mr Davies said: "My family have lived on Rodenhurst Lane for probably 40 or 50 years. We've never had any problems. I paid for all the upkeep on the road – I did all the ditches. I contribute a lot.
"I do local events for the community. I do jobs for local people including the elderly. Every year we take part in Rodfest, we donate thousands for the local church.
"I put a lot of effort and money into the local community. The council says it supports local business. How can they say that when they're telling me it has gone straight to enforcement? They are tarring me with the same brush as someone who has been there a week and does nothing."
Mr Davies first wanted to use the land for farming, but could not make enough money off the land.
He converted it in the hopes of keeping it in use.
"I have called the council and asked them what they want me to do," Mr Davies said. "I'm very easy. I can make it look nice, create a landscape. They're not giving me a chance.
"I never thought I needed planning permission. I haven't constructed anything, and you can't even see it from the roadside."
In its enforcement notice, the council wrote: "The council considers that the development is an unsustainable and inappropriate form of development which fails to either make use of previously developed land or the conversion/re-use of existing redundant buildings, or address the needs of the rural community.
"Additionally the development is not considered to relate to agriculture, forestry or assist in the diversification of the rural economy, nor has it been shown that the development addresses the needs of the rural community or that it could not have been accommodated within alternative and available existing buildings or sites.
"Furthermore by virtue of its design, it is also considered that the development fails to respond to or respect the landscape setting, topography or enhance the quality of the local environment."
A spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council said: "Mr Davies has created a storage yard for his landscape gardening business, basically created a hardstanding area and erected earth bunds around it without permission.
"As with all enforcement notices Mr Davies has a right of appeal – any appeal must be lodged before February 6."
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