Council’s planning department in ‘complete disarray’

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

An angry Rudgwick resident has criticised the district council planning department’s response to a breach of planning conditions by one of its elected members.

Horsham District Council’s planning department agreed to take enforcement action over Talon Motors’ use of John Bailey’s warehouse in Highcroft Drive, Rudgwick, back in May.

However this was delayed a month later when Talon Motors submitted a new application to remove a condition from planning permitted granted back in 2000.

Mr Bailey (Con, Rudgwick) is also a Rudgwick parish councillor and runs his business Rudgwick Metals from the site.

Neighbour Oliver Ward, who started raising initial concerns back in June 2012, expressed his frustration at receiving no replies to his phone messages and emails from the council’s planning department for three weeks.

Mr Ward added: “It’s just extraordinary. The planning department is in complete disarray.”

HDC has admitted that even if the application is approved Talon Motors’ use of the building ‘would probably remain in breach of planning control’.

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “This matter has been raised with the landowner who has agreed to submit a second application.

“It is understood this application would relate directly to the use of the building by Talon Motors and it is hoped this will be submitted in the near future.”

However Mr Ward was scathing of the council’s ability to get to grips with the situation.

He added: “It just goes round in circles. You can’t get to the beginning or the end.”

Last week Mr Bailey said: “This is a small local business that can’t find anywhere in the village to locate to.”

He said the use was only temporary until suitable commercial units become available at nearby Windacres in Rudgwick, and until he stepped in Talon Motors was about the move to Alfold, which he thought would have amounted to it going out of business.

He added: “Everyone talks about helping local business, a lot to rhetoric but no action, and so to keep this small business in business I have helped him out and time will tell as to where we stand with this.”

He said that Talon’s use of his property and the driveway was very low with just a few cars and small vans coming in and out every day.