The owner of a car park that was operating illegally in Rickmansworth has appealed to the planning inspectorate to stay open.

Three Rivers District Council received complaints in August 2017 that that an alleged breach of planning control had taken place on land adjacent to Green End Business in Church Lane, Sarratt.

Following an investigation, the council found that part of an open paddock (agricultural land) was being used as an overflow car park for the business centre.

Landowner Lawrence Chapman was made aware of the breach and was advised to remove the car park or that a retrospective planning application could be submitted for assessment.

He subsequently applied for planning permission, but this was refused as the development was considered inappropriate in the Green Belt.

No special circumstances had been demonstrated which would have made the development acceptable.

Mr Chapman had initially applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Development for the car park.

But this was refused by the council since evidence did not prove on the balance of probability that the car park had existed for over 10 years.

After planning permission was refused, the council issued an enforcement notice which sought to remove the car park.

It ordered Mr Chapman replant the land with grass within three months of the order taking effect on October 19.

But he has appealed, saying without the spaces some business may be forced to move – and without it, vehicles might have to park on the road.

An appeal document read: “The tenants of the business centre rely heavily on the ability to use the subject car park for parking of their own and visitors’ vehicles.

“If the ability to use this land for parking is removed, the business centre may no longer be viable for a number of the tenants, who would ultimately need to find new premises elsewhere.”

The appeal of both the planning decision and enforcement notice has been passed to the Secretary of State and a planning inspector is set to decide the outcome of the appeal.

If the inspector dismisses the appeal then the enforcement notice will take effect, which will require the removal of the car park within three months of the decision.

The Enforcement Notice Appeal will be decided through written representations. To make comments or request a copy of the appeal decision letter, a letter can be sent to the Planning Inspectorate, room 3/23, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN.

The reference number APP/P1940/C/18/3214148 should be quoted and any comments will be made known to the appellant.

Representations on the appeal should be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 1st August 2019, otherwise they may not be considered.