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The enforcement officer is coming!

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I would add that you should take proper advice and you should also consider cancelling visit from enforcement officer until you are clear on what strategy you wish to take. Forewarned is forearmed

 

Good luck

 

Edit - I would definitely cancel council visit until you are 100% sure where you stand legally and what your best options are. This visit could have substantial implications, financial and otherwise, for your business - make sure you're prepared

Edited by Wood wasp

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Will admit I know nothing about planning regs apart from they can be very stringent at times but all you can do is try to apply the test of reasonableness and argue your case

 

Also good luck...

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And before visit does occur make sure your yard is clean and there's nothing that can get other quangos and state bodies involved... 45 gallons diesel drum might mean an EA inspection is required, is there old machinery sitting around near a watercourse.. then they should be drained of oil. Old fencing materials - did you remove them from another site to current location? And so the questions go on

 

You're now enmeshed in the system, it only takes a dickhead council officer and you could have a whole world of grief. Usually they're ok and I'm sure you'll be fine but don't leave any opportunity for the dickhead one ..

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What should we do?

A neighbour has complained we are running a business from our premises. We (family) came to this site in 1926 and our business has changed from farming through to agricultural contacting (small scale stuff) and on through to fencing. weve got loads of old sheds we build in the 60's 70's and 80's. they used to house all the farm stuff, but in the early 2000s we sold a lot off, and kept a few bits and pieces but as things evolve most are now full of fencing, new and old posts we cut up for fire wood. Im not sure how to play the situation. I don't want to fall in to the industrial warehouse trap, id prefer the agricultural line, but not sure what to do. im happy about the sheds not needing planning. its the running a business bit im just not sure of?

 

get some advice from a land agent ,pick a good one we creds

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From my experience, I would go along the lines of you have been using it as you are for more than 10 years (it's there job to prove other wise) they will more than likely drop the case.

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A similar thing happened to a fencing supplier close to me about 15 years ago; they've owned the land for donkeys years and about 20 years before the a fore mentioned period began selling fencing products. They got a call from the LA's enforcement team ref change of use of the land, when they pointed out they'd be doing it since whenever the date was, the LA dropped the case.

 

I would still seek legal advice, are you a member of the Federation for Small Businesses?

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A similar thing happened to a fencing supplier close to me about 15 years ago; they've owned the land for donkeys years and about 20 years before the a fore mentioned period began selling fencing products. They got a call from the LA's enforcement team ref change of use of the land, when they pointed out they'd be doing it since whenever the date was, the LA dropped the case.

 

I would still seek legal advice, are you a member of the Federation for Small Businesses?

 

No were not, ive got some bloody good evidence (local books featuring our business). Even a local Dr who used to work for us 40 years ago as student) Proving the established nature shouldn't be an issue, its just the unknown!

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I would give a planning consultant a call because they could attend the meeting with you and answer any awkward questions and make sure you don't get stitched up by the council!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Arbtalk

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From my experience, I would go along the lines of you have been using it as you are for more than 10 years (it's there job to prove other wise) they will more than likely drop the case.

Not true ,the onus of proof is firmly on you to prove more than 10 years continuous use or change of use.

I have a planning inquiry against an enforcement notice next month all down to 1 neighbour with too much time on his hands.

The previous advice is correct get representation record everything and in my experience don't trust the enforcement officer as sometimes they have an agenda.

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I would employ a reputable planning consultant (they should be mrtpi or rics registered)

As long as you have been using the land for fencing for more than 10 years then that use is immune from planning enforcement. You may have to apply for a lawful development certificate (existing) to prove that this is the case. It is good that you have an extensive paper trail and witnesses but as far as the law is concerned a statutory declaration from a person such as yourself naming dates etc is taken as oath. It is the councils duty to follow case law which takes precedent; a stat dec is the final word and can't be questioned unless the council can prove significantly otherwise.

I wouldn't try to cancel the visit as it may ring alarm bells. The council has a duty of care to respond to a complaint and they have the right to investigate without appointment on land.

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