AN ILLEGAL car wash looks set to be shut down amid claims of increased traffic and noise.

Planning officers have recommended Southend Council close the London Road Car Wash, on the corner of Cricketfield Grove and London Road, Leigh. It has no planning permission.

Officers claim an increase in cars visiting the site and the noise of vacuum cleaners and power washers disturb neighbours.

In a report to councillors, who will decide whether to shut the business down next Wednesday, case officer Neil Auger said: “It is considered the use of this car wash results in a significant intensification in the use of the land, especially in terms of vehicle movements on to and off the site.

“This, together with the use of vacuum cleaners and power washers, is deemed likely to impact detrimentally on the amenities of the neighbouring residential properties by reason of noise and disturbance.”

The owners may also be forced to take down a large yellow canopy, for which they have no planning permission, and bright yellow and red signs and banners advertising the service, as Mr Auger claims they are unsightly.

But Ray and Brian Blackburn, owners of the former car showroom and vehicle repair shop, deny they need planning permission as cars have always been washed on site and vehicles are still being sold there. They argue the use of the land has not changed.

The brothers have written to Mr Auger outlining the reasons and say they are waiting for a reply.

Bill Hunt, a consultant acting on behalf of the Blackburns, said: “It’s totally premature to consider closing us down. It’s unreasonable.

“It’s totally counter business.”