The little start-up tyre-fitting firm – Penarth Tyres – has finally won its long battle to be allowed to continue in business at its leased yard on Station Road, Penarth.
The business was set up only in May 2014 by proprietor Chris Cronin in a leased yard and buildings at the rear of 28 Station Road Penarth – which were premises previously occupied by a scaffolding firm.
Penarth Tyres stressed its local roots by using, as its ‘corporate logo’, an image of a bear’s head [“Pen Arth” in Welsh]- encircled by a tyre and provides what has proved to be a popular service for local motorists.
Both the Penarth Tyres yard and garage adjoin the rear garden of a residential property at 28, Station Road, Penarth and also adjoins an access road to the commercial / industrial area leading to Penarth Railway Station where a number of long-established motor businesses have been located for years.
On September 28th 2014 the Vale Council had received just one single complaint about the business using the yard for tyre-fitting. The Vale Planners claimed that a tyre-fitting business should be categorised as so-called “B2” use (defined as “General Industry”) rather than the “B8” classification which would have applied to its use by its predecessors at the premises – the scaffolding firm – and had demanded that the firm shut up shop immediately.
The council planners said Penarth Tyres was in breach of planning regulations and gave the landlord of the premises – Mark Boland (from whom Penarth Tyres rent the premises) – the choice of either ceasing the alleged “unauthorised use” or submitting a new planning application. However at the same time the planners said they would not be inclined to give the planning permission even a planning application was submitted.
The landlord, Mr Mark Boland, had told the council the site had been used for “B2” purposes for the previous 10 years – making its continued use as a B2 site lawful. Mr Boland and two other witnesses submitted sworn affidavits, made before a solicitor, to that effect and lodged a formal application for a “lawful development certificate” for B2 use to regularise the position .
In January 2015 the Vale Council ruled that “the evidence submitted in support of the application together with the Council’s own records” was “insufficient” to demonstrate that, on the balance of probability, premises had been used before for a B2 (General Industrial) business and refused the application.
On May 4th 2016 – in a new development – Penarth Tyres proprietor Chris Cronin submitted a new and separate planning application on behalf of Penarth Tyres itself as the tenant of the premises for retrospective planning permission to “retain an existing use as a tyre fitting centre” requesting planning permission for “B1 use” . Mr Cronin told the council “I have taken all reasonable steps to restrict any noise from the machinery used in the business and the site is now significantly quieter than it was when used as a scaffold yard and workshop”. Included in Mr Cronin’s new application was a petition bearing over 100 signatures from local people in support of Penarth Tyres.
On June 8th 2016 – when this new planning application came before Penarth Town Council, the Planning Committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) said the committee should look at this as it was a new application [i.e disregarding previous applications by the landlord of the premises] and said he was all in favour of supporting business opportunities for local business people.
In the same June meeting Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) – [ who is a “twin-hatted” councillor who sits on both Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council and is a member of the Vale of Glamorgan council planning committee] – had opposed the Penarth Tyres application.
Other Penarth town councillors however totally disagreed with Cllr Roberts. Three Penarth Plymouth Ward Conservative councillors – Clive Williams, Anthony Ernest and Clive Williams all supported the application as did Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) who had said in the planning committee meeting “It is someone’s livelihood here and the planning officer should know that “
In the end however the Penarth Town Council Planning Committee decided make “no comment” on the application and left the matter for the decision by the Vale of Glamorgan Council – on a “delegated” basis by a Vale Council staff planning officer.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council – after previously issuing an Enforcement Notice which would have closed the tyre fitting firm down – has now formally issued permission for “change of use” so that the yard can be legally used for a tyre-fitting business.
The Vale Council has also imposed conditions requiring that “The property shall be used only for the purpose of a tyre fitting centre as specified in the application and for no other purpose whatsoever” . The business cannot operate outside the hours of 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 15:00 Saturday and at no time Sunday or Public Holidays and will not be allowed to employ more than two full-time staff.