A businessman is angry he could be forced to tear down several new metal sheds he put up, despite clearing up a delapitated site buried behind back gardens for the last 25 years.
Pierre Moulinier, 37, bought the overgrown land on Shakespeare Drive, Westcliff after snapping up a dilapidated site next to it, but has now been warned by Southend Council bosses that he put up the seven storage units without first getting planning permission.
Moulinier, who plans to appeal against the decision if council planners turn down a retrospective application he’s had to submit, fumed “It was so run down no one wanted it at auction so 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.”
He added: “I then 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 locals with most of them being let to local people 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, but according to Council planners, 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.
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.”
As William Shakespeare himself once quipped “There is no darkness but ignorance”. Maybe Mr Moulinier would argue “the lady doth protest too much methinks”.