Car wash firm challenges 'unreasonable' refusal of plans

The company's agent tells the review body the plans were thrown out ‘by dint of the width of a line on a map.’

East Lothian car wash owners challenge council claim new site is in countryside LDRS

A decision by East Lothian planners  to class a potential car wash site as countryside has been described as ‘unreasonable’ by the firm behind it.

Gleam Machine, which is based in Dunbar, want to open a drive-thru car wash on a former petrol station site at the gateway into Haddington.

However when they applied for planning permission it was rejected after East Lothian Council ruled the land, which overlooks a modern retail park and large petrol station was in the countryside.

Now the company has lodged an appeal with the council’s Local Review Body, which will be heard next week.

Their agent tells the review body the plans were thrown out ‘by dint of the width of a line on a map.’

And he says the new car wash represents up to 15 new jobs in the town as well as a £200,000 investment by the company.

In his statement to the review body he says: “This is a brownfield site, left vacant, derelict and unsightly for many years and is now in a state of disrepair.

“It is and eyesore offering views through to the rear of the modern petrol filling station and the uninspiring architecture of the retail park beyond.

“By dint of the width of a line on a map, it has been deemed to be a site located in the East Lothian countryside. No reasonable assessment of the site would conclude it is in a countryside location. It is sandwiched between the A199 and the retail park.”

Refusing planning permission for the new venture, earlier this year planners said: “The proposed car wash facilities and associated works is not directly related to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, infrastructure or countryside recreation.

“It is therefore a business that does not have an operational requirement for this countryside location.”

Officers said that while the site had previously been used as a petrol station and cafe much of that land had been used as part of Haddington Retail Park with open landscaping created to make ‘attractive green space’ between where the park is and the proposed car wash site.

They said the new car wash would be too prominent on the site and would be ‘harmfully intrusive and incongruous.’

The car wash facility would have been located a short distance from the Oak Tree junction onto the A1 to the west of Gateside Retail Park.

The local review body meets virtually next Thursday, July 20.

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