A BUSINESSMAN is angry he could be forced to tear down new garages he put up, despite clearing up a site buried behind back gardens for 25 years.
Pierre Moulinier, 37, has been warned by Southend Council bosses that he put up seven metal sheds in Shakespeare Drive, Westcliff, without planning permission.
Mr Moulinier said he plans to appeal against the decision if council planners turn down a retrospective application he has had to submit, amid claims he has improved the area.
He bought the overgrown strip of land after snapping up a dilapidated nine-garage site next to it, which he has also brought back into use and begun renting to residents through his business, PM Freehold Investments.
He said: “A house in Shakespeare Drive was converted into flats 25 years ago and these were the garages.
“It was so run down no one wanted it at auction and I made a bid post auction which was accepted. The land next to it was in a terrible state and underneath all the grass was all the building waste left by the developer, which was riddled with asbestos.”
Mr Moulinier said he wrote to the owner and asked for it to be cleaned up or instead, could he buy it.
He added: “We spent £2,500 getting the asbestos properly removed. The site has been totally cleaned up and the garages and extra storage sheds have been welcomed by neighbours with most of them being let to local people in October for storing motorbikes and other stuff.”
Mr Moulinier said the firm he bought the sheds from advised him no planning permission was needed as they can be taken down and moved very quickly.
According to the council the land in question is still classed as the back garden of 83 Shakespeare Drive, and therefore no commercial ventures can take place without permission being sought. A neighbour of the site, in her 40s, who asked not to be named, said: “It does really bother me because it is a bit further up and I can’t see it, but they wrote to us saying it went up without planning so they should have got that.
“I know there is someone in the road who kicked up a fuss about it anonymously with the council.”
Jenny Baisden, who rents a property nearby, said: “I have a garage and should have a parking space at the back, but they have gated off my access and I don’t have a key and can’t get in touch with the owner.
“Even my landlord had no idea it was happening or who is behind it.”
A decision on the retrospective application is expected to be made by February 18.