St Albans haulage firm’s planning appeal denied

A ST Albans businessman’s attempt to overturn a district council decision to block expansion of his company’s premises has been knocked back by a planning inspector.

Andy Kane, managing director of Kane Haulage in Porters Wood, appealed against two decisions by St Albans district council.

The local authority rejected a scheme for overnight parking of up to 30 tipper lorries, a concrete storage shed and diesel storage tank.

It also refused retrospective approval of 2.4m-high steel fencing and gates, along with six 7m-high lights.

Mr Kane appealed against both decisions, saying that the economic benefit of the proposal should add weight and a go-ahead would allow expansion of a “valuable local business”.

However planning inspector Ian McHugh dismissed both appeals last Friday.

In his decision, he said the main issue was the effect on the living conditions of neighbouring residents and the impact of the development on highway safety.

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While the appeal site is located within an established commercial area containing a mix of industrial, office and storage uses, access to Porters Wood is via Valley Road which is mainly residential.

He noted there was a concern about danger to pedestrians and schoolchildren. Pupils attending St Albans Girls’ School access it from Valley Road.

Mr McHugh said it would be reasonable to assume that as the change of use was for the overnight parking of up to 30 vehicles, a similar number of drivers would be based at the site.

He went on: “Should parking space cease to be available in the future, a significant number of employee vehicles would be likely to park on highways in the vicinity of the site.

“Given the intense activity and number of traffic movements in the area, I consider that this would be a significant hazard and inconvenience to other road users.”

Mr McHugh said while temporary permission had been granted to allow the fencing to remain for one year since the appeals were lodged, a condition of that permission had been breached relating to the type of lorry that could be parked on the site.