THE man behind a popular boot sale is fighting to get the weekly event back.

Peter Stevenson, 66, has launched a planning appeal after Basildon Council banned him from running the Big One boot sale from Stevenson’s Farm, off the A127 in Wickford.

When he sold one of his fields to the Dogs Trust, which has built a rehoming centre on the land, council officers assumed Mr Stevenson would retire, but he had other ideas.

He continued to run the “Big One” from his west field, next to his house, until Basildon Council issued him with a legal notice at the beginning of last year.

It also stops him putting on 14 events a year, which any landowner is entitled to do without securing planning permission.

Mr Stevenson said: “People come up to me and my wife in the supermarket and say they can’t believe what Basildon Council is doing.

“I have had to lay off staff, it’s lost me a lot of business and cost money to go to appeal. Even if we win the appeal, it’s going to take time to build the boot sale back up to what it was.

“I’m very annoyed with the council because it should have let us continue working while all this was ongoing.”

A planning inquiry in front of a Government inspector has been scheduled to take place on Tuesday, November 11.

Mr Stevenson said he has aerial photographs and statements from witnesses proving the boot sale has been taking place at Stevenson’s Farm every Sunday between March and October for the past 24 years.

Basildon Council previously refused a certificate of lawful use because “Mr Stevenson has not demonstrated on the balance of probabilities that the land to the west of Stevenson’s Farm has been used for car boot sales for more than 14 days per annum for a period of ten years”.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “Mr Stevenson has lodged an appeal against the council’s certificate of lawful existing use refusal to hold car boot sales at the site.

“An independent public inquiry will now be held on November 11 to consider whether the use is lawful.

“The council will defend its reasons for refusal at the inquiry.”