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Garden centre in green belt planning dispute

Published: 19 February 2010
A garden centre owner in Walmersley, near Bury, is in dispute with his local council over a temporary car park, laid on green belt land.
John Lees, owner of Park Farm Shop and Garden Centre, laid the 25-space car park when culvert repair works threatened to keep his existing 50-space car park out of action for up to six months.

The temporary hard standing is made up of rolled hardcore, but has been laid on designated green belt. However, speaking to DIY Week, Mr Lees said: "There's green belt and then there's green belt. It isn't visible from across the road - it's only visible from the air."

Under current legislation Mr Lees should have applied for planning permission before creating the hard standing, something he has now done retrospectively at a cost of £350.

Mr Lees is hopeful that the council will pass the plans, at least temporarily (although it would make for an expensive temporary solution, he added). His ideal outcome is for the car park to be approved permanently. If denied, he said, his business would be severely affected with income being reduced by up to 75% until the original car park could be re-opened.

The council is expected to make a ruling by April 6.

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