Garage gets go-ahead for sales yard extension

Date: Friday 26th May 2017

PLANNING permission has been granted to allow Penrith’s David Hayton Hillcrest Garage to extend its showroom and sales yard.

The application for part-retrospective permission was approved by Eden District Council’s planning committee, despite objections from a number of residents of neighbouring properties.

It sought to change the use of an existing holding compound for cars to a retail area for the sale of used cars at the garage on the Gilwilly industrial estate.

This was in part retrospective because part of the compound had already been tarmaced over, although the application sought to tarmac more of the site. In addition, a 2.4 metre-high fence was erected along with poles with LED lighting.

Haytons further sought to fit windows in the existing building to extend the showroom area into the rear of the premises.

The application had been brought before the committee after it was called in by Virginia Taylor (Lib Dem, Penrith West) due to neighbours’ concerns. Planning officers had recommended its approval.

Two letters of objection were received by the district council which claimed the lights had already been installed and were too high and bright. “We feel this is an intrusion into our privacy and for anyone who is sleeping in the bedrooms facing Haytons’ yard this could easily cause sleep deprivation,” objectors said. Concerns were also raised that a new access road had been constructed and was not included in the planning application, and that the application indicated no change of use had been completed, despite trading from the completed works allegedly starting in January — as advertised in the local press.

In a report to the committee, planning officers said it was understood garage bosses had visited properties affected by the lighting and repositioned the lights to minimise the impact. An automatic curfew has also been put in place, dimming the lights at 9pm. An outdoor lighting report had been carried out and the council’s environmental health department had no objections to the plans.

The report stated: “It is considered that this proposal provides an expansion to the car dealership business within its existing curtilage and that mitigation measures have been put in place to ensure minimal effect is caused to the residential properties adjacent to the site.”

Mike Eyles (Lib Dem, Penrith East) said the site had gone from being “fairly dimly lit” to having “almost football stadium lighting” and asked that a decision be deferred for a report on the existing lights. A proposal that planning permission be granted was made by John Owen (Con, Shap). The vote by councillors was tied at five for and five against, and committee chairman John Thompson (Con, Penrith West) used his casting vote in favour.