AN unauthorised car repair workshop in a residential area in Leicester has been ordered to close.
Leicester City Council slapped an enforcement notice on owner Amarjit Singh Kullar in February 2017, giving him a month to comply, as permission hadn’t been given for a change of use from light industrial to vehicle repairs at the unit in Westcotes Drive, off Narborough Road.
Kullar, of ASK Estates in Wilberforce Road, lodged an appeal and an inquiry was held by the Planning Inspectorate, with a site visit in February this year. However, the inspector – solicitor Tim Belcher – turned down the appeal and upheld the notice, saying the business hadn’t been operating long enough to claim lawfulness.
Kullar must now close the garage by April 30 or face prosecution, including a fine of up to £20,000 for flouting the enforcement notice.
In a statement issued by the civic authority, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant mayor with responsibility for planning enforcement, said: ‘This garage has been causing issues for local residents since the day it opened. We took enforcement action last year but have had to wait for the appeal process to run its course.
‘I am very pleased that the inspector agreed with our position that the garage was operating without permission.’
Fellow assistant mayor and Westcotes ward councillor Sarah Russell said: ‘Residents have suffered from the unauthorised use of this site, with work going on sometimes until 2am, causing significant disturbance. It has been a long process but the right outcome.’
The inspector’s decision report noted that between about 1970 and 1981 the original building, of which the unit forms a part, was occupied by the car and van rental service Kennings.
In April 1981, conditional permission was granted for a change of use from a car and van hire depot with ancillary repairs and petrol sales to a vehicle repair garage, although light industrial use was also permitted. Over the years, window assembly had taken place there and hosiery and clothing businesses run from it, with part of it also being used for low-key car repairs.
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