Rudgwick councillor’s planning breach to be discussed by his colleagues

JPCT 141212 Dispute over access across driveway in Rudgwick. Owner Oliver Ward. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 141212 Dispute over access across driveway in Rudgwick. Owner Oliver Ward. Photo by Derek Martin

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Horsham District Council officers are recommending enforcement action be taken over a shed owned by Rudgwick councillor John Bailey.

The shed, on Highcroft Drive, Rudgwick, is used for storage for Mr Bailey’s company Rudgwick Metals Ltd.

Horsham District Councillor John Bailey - picture submitted

Horsham District Councillor John Bailey - picture submitted

But the council will be told at a planning meeting next week that since July last year it has also been used as a base for a mechanic trading under the name Talon Motors .

This is a breach in planning conditions, says the council.

Neighbour Oliver Ward was featured in the County Times in January after he blocked access to Talon Motors’ vehicles parking on his drive. His actions provoked legal argument between his and Mr Bailey’s solicitors.

Other residents reported an increase in the amount of traffic on Highcoft Drive - a narrow, quiet private road.

Officers are asking councillors on the HDC Development Control North Committee, who meet on Tuesday, to allow enforcement action to commence.

This week Mr Ward called on Mr Bailey to ‘do the decent thing’ and give up the fight.

“One would hope as a district councillor he’s not going to fight a losing battle which will incur additional costs from the council.

“Let’s hope he does the decent thing and stops wasting time and money of the council of which he is a member.”

Officer Joanna Searle writes in her report to the committee that the HDC Compliance Team has ‘requested an application in an attempt to regularise the breach of planning control’, but despite discussions with Mr Bailey’s agent, to date none has been received.

Although he is a member of the committee, Mr Bailey will not be able to contribute to any debate.

The Conservative councillor’s colleagues will make a decision in his absence. Also to be discussed is a second report about unauthorised erection/alterations of a building at Mr Bailey’s property at Windacres Farm, Church Street, Rudgwick.

Officers have recommended councillors agree to take no action at the current time, but have not ruled out action in the future.