Objectors happy after planning ruling on village site
Hundreds of objectors are “very happy” with a decision not to allow a storage and distribution yard in their village near Newport, the parish council heard.
Roger Evlyn-Bufton, one of 200 people who objected and 14 who signed sworn affidavits opposing a “lawful development certificate” for the site, of Barrack Lane, Lilleshall, said the lawyer’s report refusing permission was “better than we expected”, but an appeal was still possible.
The applicants and site owners, known only as “Mr M and Mrs L Jones” in their planning papers, argued it had been used that way with tacit agreement from the authorities for decades, so should be given formal B8-class status.
Lilleshall parish councillor David Shaw told colleagues the pair pointed out many of the objections were apparently based on the same template, but added that the sheer “number and quality” of messages was a factor in the decision.
A statement from Mr and Mrs Jones’ agents, FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, which accompanied their application, said an “established use certificate”, issued in 1981, confirmed the site had already been used consistently for storage and distribution for 18 years.
“The applicants’ case is that the long-standing use of the property for storage has accrued lawful status, having continued for a period in excess of 10 years,” it added.
But, in a report, Telford & Wrekin Council solicitor Ian Ross wrote that the evidence the pair presented was not “sufficiently precise and unambiguous” to show uninterrupted B8-like use of the land.
Mr Evlyn-Bufton’s affidavit was one of the contradictory pieces of evidence. He wrote about separate occasions when a caravan had been sited on the Barrack Lane yard and fencing panels were manufactured there. Both of these took place before Mr and Mrs Jones acquired the land.
Mr Evlyn-Bufton added that, since the pair bought it in 2018, the site was “covered in substandard landfill, full of waste materials including large quantities of plastic” and shipping containers were placed there.
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard also opposed the application, writing in a letter to Telford & Wrekin Council’s planning department: “It is clear to local residents that the owners are not using the site as it has been previous and that, if granted a LDC, would intensify their use of it, with deleterious consequences for local infrastructure and quality of life,”
Mr Evlyn-Bufton told Lilleshall Parish Council: “It’s safe to say the 200 objectors are very happy with the decision. It was really good news, even better than we expected.”
Chairman Bob Taylor asked: “Is there a timespan for Mr and Mrs Jones to appeal?”
Mr Evlyn-Bufton said: “It’s open-ended. They have had a meeting with the council, but appealing is very expensive for them.”
Councillor Shaw said: “One of the things that came out in the report was the number and quality of objections.
“The owner objected to some of the comments because they were the same, and they had been written the same way. But the fact that people came together and made the comments has gone a long way.”
Mr Evlyn-Bufton added: “It shows the strength of feeling about something that was very inappropriate.”