Investigation over unauthorised development on Green Belt site

Land behind behind The Moor Mill pub in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood has been developed.

Land behind behind The Moor Mill pub in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood has been developed. - Credit: Gary Broadbent

A Green Belt site developed without planning permission is subject to an enforcement investigation by the district council (SADC).

Earlier this year the old landfill site behind The Moor Mill pub in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood, was cleared of debris and surrounded with metal fencing, which is a potential breach of planning law.

It has since been filled with demountable buildings and other equipment by a company which hires, buys and sells portable accommodation for the construction industry across the UK, reportedly on a temporary basis.

Nearby resident Gary Broadbent said: "It seems ridiculous to me that SADC can't stop such massive works until permission is granted. This just gives operators the go-ahead to flout all planning laws, with seemingly no consequences.

"If it is temporary, as they claim, by the time the whole planning/appeal process is completed, they may well have achieved what they want anyway."

Land behind behind The Moor Mill pub in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood has been developed.

Land behind behind The Moor Mill pub in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood has been developed. - Credit: Gary Broadbent

Christine Traill, strategic director for community and place delivery with SADC, said: “We have launched an enforcement investigation into a complaint that a business is operating from a Moor Mill Lane site without the required planning permission.

“We have made the business concerned aware of a potential breach in planning law and they now have 28 days in which to cease operations.

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“The business has the option instead of applying for retrospective planning permission in which case they can continue to operate until that application is decided.

“If neither of those actions is undertaken the council will consider whether it is appropriate to take formal enforcement action.

“We realise that some residents may be disappointed that we cannot act immediately to stop the site being used as a business premises.

“However, we must and will follow the correct statutory procedures for an enforcement investigation.”