Planning battle over workshop is settled by inspectorate

Huntingdonshire District Council opposed the application.

Huntingdonshire District Council opposed the application. - Credit: Archant

A Ramsey businessman has won the fight to retain his workshop after the Planning Inspectorate overruled Huntingdonshire District Council’s refusal to grant permission.

Frank Cannata, who owns Franks Ices, was denied retrospective planning permission in November last year for two buildings in Bucks Drove, after the district council deemed that it was an overdevelopment of the site.

But Mr Cannata sought to overturn the decision and keep his workshop, which is for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of ice cream vans, and inspector, Zoe Raygen, in a judgement published last week, agreed.

Following a visit to the site, Ms Raygen said: “I saw examples of other relatively large buildings in the landscape of a similar design to the building which is the subject of the appeal.

“As a result, when complete the building would not be unique or unacceptable within the area. Consequently, the building is not incongruous or obtrusive within the area.”

Complaints were also made by residents living close to the site, who expressed concerns over increased traffic, damage to the roads, and the nature of the business which were also dismissed by the inspector, who said that she had been provided no evidence regarding “how, and by how much, it considers that the building would increase vehicular movements to and from the site”.

“I have noted the comments of local residents regarding the number of existing vehicle movements and the consequent noise, disturbance and deterioration of the condition of Bucks Drove,” Ms Rayen added.

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“However, my attention has not been drawn to any way in which the existing operation of the site is subject to conditions or limits regarding vehicle movements. Furthermore, it is my consideration that, for the reasons set out above, the proposal would not result in harm to highway safety.”

However, Mr Cannata will have to adhere to conditions when finishing the workshop including materials, lighting and landscaping to “protect the character and appearance of the area”. He will also have to retain parking for the workshop.

As part of the district council’s original decision, Mr Cannata was also refused permission for an open storage shed for the ice cream vans. However, he did not apply to the Planning Inspectorate for that to be reconsidered.