'Airport' car park must close

AN unauthorised airport car park in Lulsgate will have to shut down by March - a Government inspector has ruled. North Somerset Council

AN unauthorised airport car park in Lulsgate will have to shut down by March - a Government inspector has ruled.North Somerset Council this week won its battle with businessman Gregory Lee Wedlake over an enforcement notice it issued to stop him using land at The Old Forge, Bridgwater Road, for airport parking.The decision follows a three-day public inquiry last year and a successful High Court challenge by Mr Wedlake of a previous inspector's decision in October 2004.Independent inspector Keith Turner, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, concluded that there had been a change of use of the land without planning permission from a mixed use of residential, bed and breakfast and vehicle repair uses to include parking and a customer reception facility.Mr Wedlake had argued at the appeal that no material change of use had taken place in the last 10 years and therefore he was immune to enforcement action.Mr Turner disagreed and upheld the council's enforcement notice saying although there had been other forms of parking at the site in the past, most, if not all of the current parking was by people using Bristol International Airport.Mr Turner also ordered Mr Wedlake to pay North Somerset Council the costs incurred in attending the first day of the inquiry, which had to be adjourned because Mr Wedlake had not arranged proper legal representation or prepared his case.North Somerset Council executive member for strategic planning and transport Councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: "This is an important decision in our fight to stop the unauthorised car parking activities which are spoiling the countryside around the airport."The cars left at this reception centre are taken to fields and other locations elsewhere and have a major impact on the green belt.

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