Rural Norfolk car dealer refused but application delayed

17:14 August 24, 2022

A rural car dealership has been granted a temporary reprieve as councilors block law enforcement from removing it from the site.

Matthew Pitt wanted to sell vehicles from a new business based at his home near the River Yare in Langley, near Loddon.

While South Norfolk Council (SNC) advisers were unwilling to kick him out of business, they agreed with officers who said the plans were in an inappropriate location and did not comply with employment policies in the countryside.

The car dealership has already started operating from the site.

Matthew Pitt, the claimant, told the SNC Development Committee on Wednesday that there were a number of businesses in the area and did not think there would be a problem.

He said: “The plan for the business to be home was only temporary, but unfortunately with the current economic climate, which I couldn’t predict, I’ve been there longer than planned.”

Mr Pitt said that since becoming aware of the planning requirements he had tried to address officers’ concerns, including introducing restricted opening hours and reducing the number of vehicles on site.

He added that it was a small family business, which he operates with his wife and father, and warned that he would not currently be able to support the business offsite.

Vic Thomson, the chairman of the development committee, asked SNC executives if there was a way to give the company a temporary reprieve.

Vic Thomson, Conservative Councilor and Chairman of the South Norfolk Planning Committee. Photo: Norfolk Conservatives.
– Credit: Norfolk Conservators

Planning officer Tracey Lincoln said to comply with council policy they would not be able to give short-term approval but could include a delay in application for a specified period. This would give Mr. Pitt time to find a new site.

Advisers said they wanted to help businesses settle on an 18-month deadline for the application while unanimously rejecting the request.

The concession is not open to occasional passers-by, with visits by appointment only. This is to reduce the number of people visiting the site.

Mr. Pitt told the committee that most of his sales came from online views.

The applicant estimates between 10 and 14 vehicle sales per month.