Owner of former Wyevale Garden Centre in Brislington appeals against planning enforcement notices

Plea for ‘very special circumstances’ over alleged harm to Green Belt land

The owner of a former garden centre in Brislington has appealled against four enforcement notices over alleged harm to the Green Belt - claiming future plans for housing provide ‘very special circumstances’.

Sam Litt, of Wyevale Bristol Ltd, has responded to the planning enforcement notices issued by Bristol City Council over the 11-acre site off the Bath Road in Brislington, which used to be the home of Wyevale Garden Centre.

In the notices given in January, the city council accused the firm of planning breaches which include the formation of a hardstanding and creation of a builder’s yard and scafford storage yard on land which formed part of the garden centre.

And on Green Belt land to the south west of the site, it found breaches in the moving and regrading of the land to form earth banks, and the storage of construction plant equipment and portable buildings.

Picture taken of land of the former Wyevale Garden centre site in Brislington last year

The council said all four breaches resulted in harm to the character and appearance of the countryside, and that the builder’s yard and scaffold storage caused distrubance to local residents.

However, in an appeal lodged by planning agents Stokes Morgan Planning on behalf of Mr Litt, it has been argued that the impact to the Green Belt was irrelevant because of future plans for housing development in the area, and the claimed impending removal of protected status.

The area was set to form part of a strategic development location under the failed Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) by Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset’s councils - and Mr Litt believes it will be part of a newly-drawn up spatial development strategy set to be published by the councils next year.

The appeal states: “This lends weight to the likelihood of the site being removed from the Green Belt and developed as a new neighbourhood.

Aerial image of the site boundary - the Green Belt land is the ‘undeveloped land’ at the bottom left

“It is in this context that the proposal should be viewed; as land likely to be removed from the Green Belt and developed as a new neighbourhood in the near future. Indeed, were it not for the failures of the JSP, the site would likely already have been removed from the Green Belt and redevelopment be under way.

It continues: “It is considered that this amounts to very special circumstances which would justify the temporary granting of planning permission [for the breaches] for a three year period.”

Addressing the council’s over disturbance, the appeal states the nearest homes are 240 metres away - and there there is no home in the vinicity to harm.

In conclusion, the appeal reads: “It is the case for the appellant that the likely and pending removal of the site from the Green Belt and its redevelopment as a new neighbourhood, combined with the proposed temporary use and the reversible nature of the works, provides the very special circumstances which would allow for permission to be granted.”

Entrance to the site off Bath Road - the car park area was last used for car sales last year

The land is also subject to two enforcement notices from the Forestry Commission over tree felling at the site - this too has been appealed against.

The appeal is set to be met with opposition from the local community, which has been in a long battle with the owners of the site in a bid to protect it from unpermitted development.

A planning application submitted last year for the temporary change of use of part of the site for a storage yard has attracted more than 20 objections.

One resident said: “I really thought you had to get planning permission before you changed a business use or built something.” Another said: “Do not let them slowly destory this land.”

A decision is yet to be made on the planning application by Bristol City Council.