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Poll: Should North Walsham hand car wash be allowed to stay open?

07:00 17 April 2014

The hand car wash on New Road, North Walsham.  
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The hand car wash on New Road, North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

A well-used town centre hand car wash could be forced to close with the loss of at least four jobs because of “inadequate” drainage and “excessive” noise.

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Today’s North Norfolk District Council development committee is due to debate the retrospective application for the business on 29 New Road, North Walsham, which has been recommended for refusal by planning officers.

Objections about the noise, smell and drainage from the car wash – set up in September 2011 without planning permission – have been received from seven neighbours on Hall Lane and New Road as well as from the town council.

But landlord Mark Debbage, co-owner of Rapid Image next to the car wash, said he had not thought the business would need planning permission as there had been a car wash on that site for the past 13 years.

He said: “We are not here to upset anybody. There is a line to be drawn and there has to be a bit of give and take on both sides. The place was a fully-functioning garage before the car wash moved in. Everything is being done properly and in a safe way.

“Refusing the application would be a harsh reaction, due to the fact there are hundreds of happy customers that use the services.”

He thought the car wash, which operates seven days a week, was an asset to the town.

If councillors go against the officers’ recommendation, the car wash would run between 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm on Saturdays and 10am-5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

If they go with the recommendation, an enforcement notice – requiring the unauthorised use to stop and the removal of the canopy and two containers – would have to be met within three months of it being issued by the council.

Mr Debbage said the workers and bosses had been asked to tell customers not to leave radios on while vehicles were being washed; the business had invested in quieter vacuum cleaners and vehicles were washed further away from neighbours’ fences at weekends.

He added the drainage system was the one used by the previous car wash at the old New Road Service Centre, taken over by Cando Autocentre about six years ago. The autocentre is not connected to the car wash.

Mantas Meizeraitis, who runs the car wash, said: “There are four great guys working there and I don’t want them to end up jobless.”

One objection read: “The noise is a continuous one when the jet washes are used throughout the day and late into the evening, including weekdays and weekends. The noise causes lack of sleep during periods of shift work. The noise is a nuisance and it is not conducive to a residential area.”

The council’s environmental health department has objected because of concerns about the impact of the car wash on residents.

North Walsham town, district and county councillor Eric Seward said the car wash was “well-used” but the application had to be balanced against the neighbours’ “need for peaceful enjoyment”.

What do you think? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk.

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