Car Wash Appeals Planning Decision: Please Act!

The London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) refused planning permission for a car wash on Metropolitan Open Land near the Lee Valley Ice Rink. The applicant has appealed the decision and we are asking as many people as possible to write to the Planning Inspectorate to ensure the refusal is upheld.

The car wash at Leyton Marshes car park, on Lea Bridge Road.


The car wash, erected on Metropolitan Open Land, opened in the summer of 2016 without planning permission and without permission from Thames Water to discharge trade effluent into the sewer.

Information on how to write to the Planning Inspectorate and the applicant’s statement of case can be found here: Car wash – appellant’s statement of case.  If you don’t have much time, please write and simply say that you support the LBWF’s decision and oppose the appeal. If you have more time, we have provided some guidance below to help you prepare your response.
Please write to the planning inspectorate before 18 May 2017. Fending off this planning application on Metropolitan Open Land will help us in the battle ahead to protect other parts of Leyton Marshes from being developed.
You can register your comments online: or alternatively you can email Please make sure you have included your name and address and the following information about the application:
  • Reference number: APP/U5930/W/17/3168867
  • Address of the appeal site: Lea Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London, E10 7QL
Please begin by clearly stating that you are against that appeal proposals.
Talking points you may wish to include are as follows:
  • The application site is designated Metropolitan Open Land and the proposal is contrary to Policy 7.17 of the London Plan. The canopies, utility boxes and signage and proposed commercial activity are detrimental to the openness of the landscape and have no connection to open space uses of the land.
  • There are other car washing facilities already operating in the immediate area and alternative sites available in nearby industrial areas, and no exceptional circumstances that would justify overriding the protection of MOL and granting approval.
  • The proposal due to its height, appearance and prominent location is harmful to the landscape of the Lee Valley Regional Park, adding commercial clutter in one of the only stretches of green landscaping in the Waltham Forest section of Lea Bridge Road.
  • Waste water from car washes is classified by the Environment Agency as trade effluent, but this was not indicated on the application form which suggests the applicants are unaware of their environmental responsibilities in operating a car wash. There is no provision for water treatment or recycling and would appear to have been operating in 2016 without the necessary consent from Thames Water to discharge to mains sewer.
  • The use is a nuisance to neighbours and users of the Park by reason of the visible commercial activity and noise generated and the smell of chemicals and detergent which was apparent during the period of unconsented operation in 2016.
Rebuttal of reason for refusal no. 1
  • The appellant is incorrect to claim that the site clearly lies on brownfield land – no above-ground built structures have ever existed on the application site. The paving of the surface for car parking does not affect the openness of the land – it is frequently the case that MOL includes car parks and utility features such as lamp columns and signage.
  • The appellant’s reference to Paragraph 89 of the NPPF is misleading. The full wording of the ‘brownfield’ exception is, ‘limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development.​‘
  • While the site should not be regarded as previously developed, clearly the car wash canopies and signage have a greater impact than the original site, which was free from any structures.
  • Given that the car wash requires little more than sufficient space accessible to cars, a water supply and drainage there are other suitable alternative sites available in the area where the employment could be provided. There are extensive industrial and commercial zones nearby.
  • Since the site is MOL lying within the Lee Valley Regional Park, if the existing car park is underused as claimed, surplus areas should be returned to parkland and not developed for inappropriate uses.
Temporary planning permission
  • The appellant’s planning application form and Design and Access statement do not state that the application is for temporary permission, nor did the LPA’s advertising of the planning application. 
Processing of the application
  • The appellant claims that, ‘In October 2016 the applicant did erect the canopies and the use commenced’. This is incorrect with construction and use beginning at a much earlier date. The groundworks were completed by June 2016 and it was in operation at the beginning of July 2016 as evidenced by the reporting of planning breaches to Waltham Forest Council. At the beginning of August 2016 the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority acted on complaints from members of the public to stop the operation of the car wash pending planning approval.     
If you objected to the original planning application, you may also wish to point out that you do not represent another car wash business, as the appellant suggests.
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