Petition to save Wheathampstead Golf Course car wash dismissed by councillors
PUBLISHED: 15:24 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 11 October 2019
A petition opposing the closure of a car wash at Wheathampstead Golf Course was presented to St Albans district council after receiving nearly 1,000 signatures.
The car wash operators were first told to cease in 2015, after the district council considered a retrospective planning application. Earlier this year, after losing a planning appeal, the owners complied with an enforcement notice and left the golf course site.
At a district council meeting last Wednesday, October 9, councillors were presented with a petition opposing the closure of the car wash, which was supported by the owners of the golf course and signed by nearly 1,000 people.
Presenting the petition to the council, golf coach Barney Puttick said the service had been popular with users of the golf course, who are predominantly retirees.
He said the car wash made a useful contribution to the golf course's income, particularly during the winter months, and that the golf course may now look to submit its own application for a car wash on the site.
Mr Puttick said: "Clearly these are our problems from a financial point of view, not the council's.
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"However we would like to think that [the council] might be sympathetic and supportive to a local business such as ours in struggles to continue trading.
"We are minded to explore the possibility of submitting our own application to provide a car wash facility for our clientele and local area with council planning officers and address any issues that they have,"
Planning permission for the car wash had been refused because of the golf course's position within the Green Belt, and because it was seen as "an inappropriate and unsustained" use which was detrimental to the open character of the landscape.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Jamie Day said that while he appreciated there was local support for the car wash, a public petition can not overturn a planning decision.
He also pointed out detrimental environmental effects from the car wash, including the use of detergents and the brake dust and pollutants from cars.
He said: "We have a planning system.
"This was a clear breach of it and I don't see how we can - on a petition basis - say 'well that's okay we want it, let's overturn it'."