Car wash business asked to leave Wheathampstead Golf Course
PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 04 June 2019
The owners of a car wash at Wheathamsptead Golf Course fear both businesses may go under if they are forced to leave the premises.
Mehmet Imari has worked with three others at the car wash in the golf course grounds since 2015, but St Albans district council has asked them to leave because they are occupying Green Belt land.
The car washers pay rent to Wheathampstead Golf Course for use of its grounds in Harpenden Road, and the golf course manager is fully in support of the business,
Mehmet, who is 42 and has two young children, said: "We had the notice of a cease in the business in three months' time, saying it's a Green Belt area and it harms the environment. I comply with everything, and the car wash is quite hidden away as well.
"I've got four people working here, me included, and we've just been served a notice saying we're not wanted here anymore.
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"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 car wash business was set up by Mehmet's friend, and after he moved on Mehmet ended up staying and running the business, travelling to Wheathampstead from his home in London.
Both Mehmet and the golf course have also been in touch with Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, and asked him to argue their case. However the council has stated that Mehmet and his colleagues did not have planning permission to use part of the car park of the Pay and Play Golf Course as a car wash facility, or to built the associated shed on the land.
They were given three months' notice to stop using the land and to remove the shed and other associated materials.
Tracy Harvey, the council's head of planning and building control, said: "It is always unfortunate when a business starts operating without seeking the necessary permissions.
"In this case, retrospective planning permission was refused. The failure to voluntarily remove the car wash after this refusal resulted in the council issuing an enforcement notice in April 2018.
"In an appeal decision issued on 16 May 2019, the planning inspectorate upheld the council's enforcement notice which was seeking to protect the Green Belt and the countryside."