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Car park will fight closure
12:10pm Wednesday 11th December 2013 in News
A PARKING firm that serves Southend Airport has pledged to continue operating despite being ordered to close.
Southend Council told Southend Airport Car Park it had to close its premises on Temple Farm Industrial Estate after the Government backed the authority’s decision to refuse planning permission.
The council issued an enforcement notice calling on it to stop trading, but the private company, which is independent of the airport, has appealed the notice, allowing it to continue to operate until any hearing.
Owner Lorraine Larman said: “The company is doing so well.
There is definitely a demand for it. Repeat customers are 95 per cent of our business. People like our service and I’m not going to go down without a fight.”
The firmstarted collecting customers’ cars from the airport and parking them on a disused plot off Coopers Way, despite having no planning permission, in June last year. It had used land off Progress Road from April.
The council refused a retrospective application for the car park this April as the plot is earmarked for industrial or employment use and a Government planning inspector backed its decision.
The inspector will now decide whether the council’s enforcement notice to shut the 200-space car park is valid.
Mrs Larman said: “We are a really good business. We have employed lots of people.”
The firm employs ten people and is looking for four new drivers.
David Norman, chairman of the cross-party group of councillors that turned down the application, said: “The council was clear the area it has occupied was a zone for industrial and employment use, not a car park.
“Now the Government inspector has upheld the decision, they really ought to, in everyone’s interest, up stumps and leave.”
Mrs Larman said the firm would find new premises, if its Coopers Way site was closed.
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