Planning inspector dismisses building owner’s appeal and says shop must cease trading and buildings must be removed from site within six months
East Devon District Council’s decision to take enforcement action against an unauthorised retail store, known as Recycling at Raxhayes Ltd, at Raxhayes Farm, Ottery St Mary, has been upheld on appeal.
Situated in a rural location, approximately two miles from the centre of Ottery St Mary, the shop sells second hand goods from a group of agricultural style buildings and has been operating since October 2016.
Officers were alerted to it around that time and were shocked to find that two new barns had been built and were being used alongside an existing barn and three shipping containers for retail purposes with an associated café - all without planning permission.
Discussions with the owner to try and resolve the situation yielded no resolution and so an enforcement notice was served earlier in 2017. The notice highlighted the council’s concerns, which are that the use is inappropriate in the countryside and is contrary to the council’s policy to locate retail developments in town centres to support the function and viability of the district’s town centres, which are already under threat from internet shopping and other modern shopping trends.
It is important that new retail uses are focused in these locations to generate linked trips to other town centre shops, cafés and other activities, as well as encouraging visitors to take such leisure trips by public transport rather than use their cars, which would add to pollution levels needlessly. The site at Raxhayes Farm is remote and inaccessible by public transport.
The owner of the site appealed against the council’s enforcement notice, but a Planning Inspector has dismissed the appeal and has confirmed the requirements of the notice, which is that the shop must cease trading and the unauthorised buildings, containers and other paraphernalia must be removed from the land within six months. The council is always keen to support new businesses, but it is important that new enterprises take responsibility for ensuring that they have all the necessary trading permissions in place, including planning permission for any new buildings and changes of use.
It is always unfortunate when we have to take enforcement action against a popular local business, but in this case it was in totally the wrong location. It is good that the Planning Inspector has supported the council’s decision and the existing site will have to close. However, I sincerely hope that the business will relocate to an appropriate location with planning permission and be successful.
The appeal decision can be found on the Planning Insepctorate website by searching the case number 3173284.