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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Carlisle car salesman told to move vehicles 'stored' on village field

A used car salesman must remove 40 vehicles being stored on a field beside a rural village, after councillors ruled it was ruining the countryside.

Carlisle car field photo
Vehicles parked on land at the rear of South View

Rodney Lovell had applied for retrospective planning permission to store the vehicles on land to the rear of South View, The Green, Houghton.

He has a used car business in Carlisle, and said that the vehicles stored at Houghton were used to replace and sustain his stock on a “rotational” basis.

However, residents claim the site is untidy, too large, unsuitable for a rural village and is ruining the views – one objector claims it is visible from three separate public footpaths.

A meeting of Carlisle City Council’s development control committee was told that Mr Lovell had indicated he had been using the field for car storage since 2011, although the council only became aware last April.

He was requesting permission to change the use of the field from agricultural land to use for vehicle storage.

Stanwix Rural parish council responded to the consultation, requesting a restriction on the number of vehicles stored to no more than 20 but also the “removal of the decaying commercial vehicles currently stored on the site”.

Mr Lovell spoke to the committee about the application, offering to reduce the number of cars he had there if required.

He added: “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong by having cars stored on the land.”

James Bainbridge, who is ward councillor for Stanwix Rural, addressed committee members to highlight his objections. Afterwards he told the News & Star: “It was becoming more and more of an eyesore over time. There were more than 40 cars, sometimes 50. It got to the point where it needed action.

“It has quite reasonably been turned down by the city council and I hope he will comply with the removal of the vehicles.”

Councillors unanimously rejected the application.

Neighbour Dave Klein, 51, of Orchard Holme, Houghton, who objected to the application, told the News & Star that the site was an “eyesore”.

“It was going to be nothing other than that,” he insisted. “It is a salvage yard. It is fundamentally wrong that it was allowed for so long on agricultural land.

“The land itself is an historic market site so for anybody to contemplate putting 60 or so cars on there is not right.”

He was also critical of the amount of time for action to be taken, claiming residents had had a seven-month-long battle.

Mr Lovell also had a second retrospective application considered by the panel, for a proposed stable extension. He has already built a short brick base wall, which outlined the foundations of the planned single-storey storage room and tack store.

This would be attached to the existing stable block at South View, The Green, Houghton.

There were also objections to this plan, with Mr Klein, insisting the area had become “a 4x4 showroom” and claiming it would not be for equestrian use.

He added: “There is not a horse in sight; four-legged, rocking or sea.”

However, Mr Lovell defended his plans, insisting he has “three to four” horses, which his children ride and look after.

In light of the conflicting comments relating to the presence of horses, councillors deferred the decision.

Councillor Ray Bloxham said: “I think we need to go out and see it.”

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