Piltdown farmer seeks permission for cars to be serviced in barn

Retrospective planning permission is being sought to allow private cars to be serviced on a farm at Piltdown.

Documents before Wealden Council say a barn at Piltdown Poultry, Fairhazel, Piltdown, has been used by Mr Martin Pratt since 2000 to service agricultural machinery and undertake regular routine inspections of the farm lorry.

More recently the owner of the farm, Mr Mark Antrobus has allowed Mr Pratt to use the workshop and existing plant and machinery as a base to develop a car servicing enterprise.

The documents say that typically Mr Pratt will collect customers’ cars from their homes in the morning, carry out the routine service during the day and return the car to his customer on completion.

“The agreement is that Mr Pratt services Mr Antrobus’ equipment in lieu of rent. In this way Mr Antrobus gains the financial advantage of reducing his farm’s vehicle maintenance costs and Mr Pratt is able to run his business without the financial burden of a commercial rent.”

One letter objecting to the plan has been received by the council and includes concern about increased use of a privately-owned road servicing ten private houses at Fairhazel.

There is also concern that the road is a public footpath and that there might be a risk to children on bicycles and to dogs.

The letter says: “My most important objection is that this use will conflict with the peace and quiet enjoyment of all the occupiers of the private houses down Fairhazel Lane.”

A report from planning enforcement officers who visited the farm after learning the barn was being used as a vehicle repair and servicing workshop said they had advised that a planning application, if sought, would be unlikely to receive officer support.

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