Independent business owners told to leave farm site after losing appeal
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Several independent businesses will be made homeless and forced to pay thousands to relocate after losing an enforcement appeal.
Firms based at Beeches Farm in Tunstead, North Norfolk, have been told they have to leave the rural site due to a breach of planning control.
It comes after North Norfolk District Council served an enforcement notice back in April 2017, claiming the site did not have permission to operate as a mixed-use development.
Landowner Luke Paterson and the affected business owners all appealed the notice, but a planning inspector has now ruled in the council's favour.
Kurk Randall, who owns Wroxham Car Body Shop, said he could have to pay between £5,000 to £10,000 to relocate to a new site.
He said: 'We are now looking for other premises, which unfortunately, unless you have money behind you, there is not a great deal of units available.
'It is hard, but you have to keep fighting and carrying on because our business has been going for 10 years now.'
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Mr Randall, who stressed his business would remain open, has been based at the farm for almost five years.
Meanwhile, Chris Bell, who owns HD Valeting at the farm, said the biggest issue for his company was finding another available unit.
He said: 'We are looking for one now and there is a real shortage of commercial units in North Norfolk.'
In her decision, published in January, planning inspector Diane Lewis concluded there had been a material change of use on the land, which was a breach of planning control.
While the district council's enforcement notice gave businesses three months to move from the site, she extended the period to up to 12 months.
Mr Paterson, whose family has owned the farm since the 1970s, said he had attempted to diversify the farm and make use of redundant buildings.
He said five businesses will be affected in total, with one owner already telling him he will close the business.
He said: 'This creates a lot of uncertainty for them in what is already an uncertain time.'
Mr Paterson said while it was 'too early' to say what his next plans for the site would be, he said he would consider looking at residential development.
A North Norfolk District Council spokesman said: 'Following an inquiry held in September and November by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, the appeals in this Tunstead case have been dismissed.
'The inspector agreed to extend the period for compliance to the notice and the council will actively engage with the businesses at the site to help them through the relocation process.
'We will also be discussing the decision and periods for compliance with the site owner and appellant.'