Recently the Planning Enforcement Officer (PEO) for Argyll & Bute Council in Oban received a complaint from a holiday home owner regarding the siting of a mobile catering van in Scarinish. As this was an official complaint the PEO had to take action and he looked at each unit on the island not just the offending one.
Under the 1997 Town & Country Planning Act a person can trade from one site for up to 28 days, but from the 29th day onwards planning permission for the site is needed. Whilst the operators of the Catering vans all have trading licenses, none of them have the required planning permission. Subsequently the island’s three catering vans were given notice to immediately cease trading.
Following talks between the Enforcement Officer and the operators a trading period of three weeks has been granted to allow time for applications for retrospective planning permission to be made. If any of the traders apply they may continue trading until permission is either granted or refused. Any trader who does not submit an application must cease trading at the end of the three week period. Sam Bouchnak, who has recently become the owner of one of the units told An Tirisdaech that “this is a very worrying time, not just because of the costs involved in planning permission which could add up to almost £1000, but also because of the uncertainty of the planning rules regarding small businesses.”
Andrew Montgomery, Factor to Argyll Estates wrote “It is such a shame that after a complaint by a holiday home owner in Scarinish to the planning enforcement officer for Argyll and Bute council in Oban that mobile snack/food bars operating on land owned by Argyll Estates require planning permission! I have been notified by the enforcement officer that an order will be served on Argyll estates, as the land owner, should each operator not only have obtained planning consent, but planning consent for each and every site on which they wish to park.
It is so sad that LOCAL people cannot carry on an attempt to make a crust or two without the long finger of the planning enforcement officers reaching across the waters to Tiree. After all, it is not as if those involved are large operators cashing in on boom times, or indeed paying large rents to the land owner for the privilege.
However, now that this has been brought to my attention my hands are firmly tied and I am sorry to have to inform those involved that trading must cease forthwith until planning applications have been submitted and approved.”
An Tirisdeach approached the person who lodged the initial complaint for a comment on the way events unfolded and we were told: “I complained about the snack van in front of our house with respect to the constant noise made by the generator and the siting of the van. It was possible to hear the noise of the generator inside our house with the windows shut. I also complained about the possibility of the long term position of the van at that location.
These I felt were legitimate complaints, and at no time did I make any complaints about any of the other vans on the island. I regret that this has caused so much ill feeling from other small businesses on the island, but any problems regarding these have arisen through no fault of mine.”
An Tirisdeach will be keeping in touch with the parties involved, and bring you further updates.