Planning Inspector Rejects Furniture Outlet's Appeal But Suggests Talks

PUBLISHED: 14:10 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 13:19 02 June 2010

the home in Littleport will now talk to the council

the home in Littleport will now talk to the council

THE long-running battle between a Littleport-based furniture outlet and the district council was finally brought to an end this week after the planning inspector rejected the outlet s appeal. In her 13-page ruling on the dispute, planning inspector Diane

THE long-running battle between a Littleport-based furniture outlet and the district council was finally brought to an end this week after the planning inspector rejected the outlet's appeal.

In her 13-page ruling on the dispute, planning inspector Diane Lewis rejected the appeal by furniture outlet The Home on several grounds, agreeing instead with the council's view that the store owners had breached planning permission.

It wasn't all bad news for outlet owner Steven Layn, however, as the inspector noted that the two parties should meet to discuss ways that the business could continue to operate within its current planning permission.

David Archer, executive director for Development Services at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "We take no pleasure in the judgment from the Planning Inspector as we always hope to resolve issues through meetings and discussions before development takes place.

"I hope the Home will now take on board the points which have been made and realise that if they had followed the advice we gave them in the beginning they would not be where they are today.

"We will do what we can to assist the Home make alternative arrangements and we hope we won't have to take further enforcement in the future."

The argument centred over the decision by ECDC back in July 2009 to hit Mr Layn with a joint 'stop' and 'enforcement' notice after it claimed he had breached planning permission by using his site on the Saxon Business Park primarily for retail.

The council claimed The Home's planning permission was mainly for manufacturing and not retail and it therefore opted to take enforcement action.

Mr Layn refuted the claims, and appealed the decision to the planning inspector in the weeks after being served with the notice.

Responding to the inspector's decision, Steven Layn, owner of the outlet, told the Ely Standard he was "reasonably happy" with the result as it would mean negotiations between the two parties could begin.

"What I believe is that the planning inspector has taken the opportunity to sit on the fence. She has given us a six-month period to reach a compromise with ECDC that we are both happy with, he said.

"We expect to begin negotiating with the council in the next few weeks and we are fairly optimistic about the outcome. In the meantime the doors of The Home will remain open for business.

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