Fight continues to save car wash at Wheathampstead Golf Course

PUBLISHED: 16:57 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 02 August 2019

A car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf Course

A car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf Course

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A petition to save a car wash at Wheathampstead Golf Course has reached nearly 900 signatures.

A car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf CourseA car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf Course

The owners of the car wash were asked by St Albans City and District Council to leave the golf course because they are occupying Green Belt land.

Mehmet Imari has worked at the car wash, along with three others, since 2015, and they pay rent to the golf course for use of their grounds in Harpenden Road.

Golf course manager William Price said: "Everybody wants it to stay. It's got to go in front of a committee as there are over 500 signatures.

"It's just a quick drive in, clean your car and go. Everybody's up in arms about it.

A car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf CourseA car wash business has been asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course by St Albans District Council. Picture: Wheathampstead Golf Course

"There's no other car wash in Wheathampstead."

Mehmet, who is 42 and has two young children, told the Herts Ad in June that they had been given notice of a cease in the business in three month's time.

He said: "I comply with everything, and the car wash is quite hidden away as well.

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"I've got four people working here, me included, and we've just been served a notice saying we're not wanted here anymore.

"I pay rent to the landlords and I have never missed a rent. It's helping the golf course as well with their expenses - if it wasn't for us they probably would have gone under."

The business was set up by Mehmet's friend, and after he moved elsewhere Mehmet stayed to run the business.

He travels to Wheathampstead every day from his home in London.

The council has now stated that he and his colleagues did not have planning permission to use the golf course's car park as a car wash facility, or to build the associated shed on the land.

Retrospective planning permission was refused, leading to an enforcement notice in April 2018, which was upheld by an appeal decision in May this year.

Tracy Harvey, the council's head of planning and building control, said: "The council has received a petition regarding the closure of the car wash at the golf course.

"The next opportunity for the council to receive the petition is at their October 9 meeting.

"In this case, an independent planning inspector has upheld the council's planning enforcement notice.

"The planning inspectorate, in making its decision, concluded that Green Belt and countryside should be protected."

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