Car Wash: Appeal Dismissed by Planning Inspectorate

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




The appeal lodged by the car wash business that operated on Leyton Marshes car park, in front of the Lee Valley Ice Centre,  has been refused by the Planning Inspectorate. Waltham Forest Council refused planning permission for the Morina Car Wash business back in November 2016 and it appealed the decision in April this year.

The grounds given for dismissing the appeal related to the status of the land and the impact on local residents. The two main reasons cited were as follows:

  1. The effect of the development on the openness, and the character and
    appearance of the Metropolitan Open Land and surrounding area; and
  2. The effect of the development on the living conditions of nearby occupiers,
    with regard to noise and disturbance.

These were two of the main reasons that Save Lea Marshes presented in our long-running opposition to the facility on protected open land. The Planning Inspector’s report cited the need to protect the appearance of the land as the ‘lack of built structures on the land immediately surrounding the appeal site allows clear views of the canopy from across the car park, the road, and the surrounding buildings.’ It is good to know that the relevant authorities are concerned with safeguarding the MOL status of this land, including its appearance and integrity.

The key passage regarding the impact of the car wash is as follows: ‘The core of the designation of the land as MOL is to prevent harm to openness.The appellant states that the land is already developed. However, the appeal development results in new structures being erected on an otherwise flat area currently used as a car park. Despite the presence of lighting poles with advertising affixed throughout the car park, and the nearby Ice Centre building, the site, the car park and the bordering green land, does currently have an
open character. Development, by its very nature, reduces openness. The development would result in new structures being erected, which although lightweight in nature and appearance, would reduce this openness.’

Whilst the structures are referred to in the future tense, they have in fact already been erected and we will do our best to make sure that they are removed as soon as possible by Council enforcement so that the views of the green land are as fully restored as possible, despite the presence of the Ice Centre itself.

Another notable aspect of the refusal to grant permission is also found in the grounds for dismissal, namely the impact on nearby residents. The report states: ‘Due to the open nature of the land, it is likely that any loud activities emanating from the car wash would be heard by residents. Such activities normally associated with hand car wash businesses could include pressure washers, pumps, vehicle movements and noise from workers.’

The fact the planning authorities have cited the impact of the business on Essex Wharf residents and seen fit to prevent development to maintain the openness of MOL will be useful in opposing future developments on adjacent or nearby MOL. The two free schools that are proposed for the former Thames Water Depot site opposite and the plans for high rise residential buildings for the Waterworks will both have far reaching detrimental impacts both on the openness and integrity of the MOL and on local residents.

We hope that consistency is maintained in regards to both small and large inappropriate developments alike.

We would like to thank everyone that originally objected to the car wash being located in such an inappropriate area. We hope that the business will be able to find a more suitable location which does not compromise the local environment.

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