Executive Travel & Sightseeing

Bristol Airport off site Car Parking

TWO unauthorized car parks for Bristol Airport passengers are to be shut down after a planning inspector ruled they were an inappropriate use of the green belt.

North Somerset Council issued enforcement notices to car park owner Gregory Wedlake last year relating to unauthorized car parks in Backwell. One was on land to the north of Coombe Dale, Potters Hill, and the other at Hyatts Wood Road.

The notices stated that the use of the land for parking vehicles was inappropriate development in the green belt.

The notice for the Hyatts Wood Road site also required the removal of a portable building and a hard standing used as a vehicle parking reception facility for the Forge car park.

The Planning Inspectorate’s decision to uphold the two enforcement notices means that both sites can no longer be used for airport parking.

The operator has 14 days to comply with the decision and has been given four months to remove a portable building and hard standing at the Hyatts Wood Road site. Failure to comply with the enforcement notices would be a criminal offence with a maximum fine on conviction of £20,000.

In a separate action the council has issued a Community Protection Warning under the anti-social behavior laws to close down an unauthorized airport car park on land to the south of St Andrew’s Church, Congresbury. The site was used by Bristol Valet Parking Ltd, which was previously operating from Yew Tree Farm in Sandford before enforcement action by the council last year.

The Community Protection Warning was issued on the basis that the use of the land for airport parking was causing noise and disturbance to local residents, was resulting in a highway hazard and was causing harm to the setting of the adjacent grade 1 listed church and to the character and appearance of the area.

The land was cleared of vehicles within three days of the warning notice being issued.

North Somerset Council cabinet member Elfan Ap Rees said: “The council is committed to protecting the Green Belt from damage caused by unauthorized car parking. We will continue to investigate and take the appropriate action against those who flout planning regulations.”

The move comes at the same time as Backwell Parish Council is considering funding an enforcement officer to crack down on illegal car parks in the parish.

Enforcement notices have been made on illegal car parks on land across Downside, Backwell, Winford and Felton.

A number of the car parks are on green belt land, with the access to many of them down single tracks.

Council policy allows temporary use of land for 28 days in each calendar year. But for anything else, planning permission needs to be applied for.

Backwell Parish Council is now looking at whether it can fund the costs of a part time enforcement officer to tackle the problem.

The move follows ongoing complaints from residents about the noise and disturbance created the car park operators and the impact it has on local residents.

North Somerset used to have around eight enforcement officers covering the district, but as a result of recent cut backs due to budget pressures, the number has reduced.

Enforcement officers need to monitor a site for 28 days to decide whether action can be taken against the operator.

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