Company boss fails to win over East Cambs Council as retrospective permission for mobile homes at Chittering refused

These are the mobile homes at Padro House, Chittering, that have been refused permission to remain b

These are the mobile homes at Padro House, Chittering, that have been refused permission to remain by East Cambs Council. - Credit: Archant

An East Cambs fresh produce company has been told to remove three mobile homes positioned inside their headquarters at Chittering.

Director Steven Ripley of The Produce Connection applied to East Cambs Council for retrospective permission to retain the homes to allow for better 24/7 security.

Planning officials claimed there was no evidence to support a permanent home on the site at Padro House, Ely Road, Chittering“let alone three separate multi-occupancy units”.

An officer’s report released by the council says that it not clear “at what level the business is currently operating”.

One part of the report shows how the council has relied on an appeal hearing from elsewhere but similar to the current application. The inspector who conducted the appeal found that an agricultural dwelling that was being sought for a potato farm failed to meet the criteria of rural planning.

It was argued that a 24 hour presence was needed to look after the controls at the potato store but this plea was rejected. It was considered that an automatic warning system could be installed if failure of the system was a worry. Security issues were also rejected at the appeal.

The East Cambs report says that “it is considered that the same conclusions apply here and there is sufficient accommodation provided in nearby Ely or Chittering for staff to live.”

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Furthermore Ely and Chittering could house staff close enough to the site to respond to emergencies.

“The proposal is in an unsustainable location and is not needed to support the rural economy” it concluded.

Although local councillors raised no concerns or objections, the council was made aware of issues raised by its environmental health officers. Although they had no objections in principle they said the caravans would need to be licensed.

They also wanted a report from the fire authority for “general guidance” and offered advice on decking and positioning.

Planning manager Rebecca Saunt ruled that a need for the homes at the site had not been justified and so permission was refused.

“The proposal is deemed to not meet the functional or financial test to demonstrate an essential need,” she said.

The application was contrary to the council’s local plan “and it is considered not needed to support a rural economy and is unsustainable”.