Eviction notices force people to remove vehicles from ‘blot on the landscape’ site

Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate in West Hay Road, Wrington.Picture: Google Street View

Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate in West Hay Road, Wrington.Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

People living unlawfully at a farm dubbed ‘a blot on the landscape’ have been handed eviction notices after years of the occupiers being in limbo.

Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate.Picture: David Kenneford

Gatcombe Farm Industrial Estate.Picture: David Kenneford - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council has approved plans for Wrington’s Gatcombe Farm, in West Hay Road, to be used only for business purposes which will see people living there evicted this spring.

Applicant Roland Tanner submitted plans to change the use of multiple ‘unauthorised’ industrial units on the site into business and office facilities in 2017. The scheme was approved by the authority earlier this month.

In the past complaints have been raised about ‘unauthorised’ residential use of storage vehicles, caravans and containers at the farm, including ‘uncontrolled’ noise, deliveries at all hours and the size of vehicles impacting highway safety.

Wrington councillor Deborah Yamanaka said: “One family who lives nearby has been affected really badly and it’s been a very hard situation.

“In the past, a dog there bit one of the family’s daughters who lived close by, and it (the situation) got so bad one of the owners left a few years ago.

“The site’s future has been in limbo for a very long time, and I have to be optimistic that the council will clamp down on its use quickly.”

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Ahead of the decision, a North Somerset Council planning officer said: “There are eight single-storey buildings predominantly for industrial use across the farm, which is having a detrimental impact on the greenbelt and the living conditions of nearby residents.

“Before the use of the units began in 2011, it was considerably run down and has been a blot on the landscape for a substantial number of years.

“It has been subject to several unauthorised uses, including scrap vehicles storage, fly-tipping and airport parking.”

Six council eviction notices preventing people living on the estate came into force this month, and all ‘vehicles capable of being lived in’ must be removed from the farm by the beginning of April.

The authority has imposed restrictions on deliveries to the industrial estate between 8am-6pm on weekdays and 8am-1pm on Saturdays.

The site was used as a mushroom farm until 1989, and the land is also a breeding area for horseshoe bats.