ST HELENS Council has confirmed that the parking and storage of vehicles at a repair garage site is lawful.

An application for a certificate of lawfulness for existing use of land (CLEUD) for the parking and storage of motor vehicles, associated with the wider vehicle repair garage site use at the Ace Of Hearts Garage on Warrington Road, Bold Heath, was made to St Helens Council.

A CLEUD is a certificate stating that the existing use of buildings or land, or operations carried out, is lawful.

The application stated that the land has been primarily used as a petrol filling station and MOT centre, for nearly 15 years from 2000 to 2015.

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It stated: "Most notably it is the case that the land in question has primarily been in a use associated with the primary petrol filling station and M.O.T testing centre for a continuous period of time exceeding 10 years.

"The wider Ace of Hearts garage site is an existing Petrol Filling Station and also includes the associated M.O.T testing centre. Our submissions in relation to this application for a certificate of lawfulness demonstrate clearly that the identified land has been used for purposes associated with the primary use of the land for a period of time exceeding 10 years."

Planning officer Alex Ball said in a report: "The applicant states on their application form that for almost 15 years between 2000 and 2015 that the identified land associated with the wider garage use can be demonstrated.

"From mid-2015 there appears to be a material change in the use of the identified land associated specifically with a larger scale Sui Generis car sales operation (initially HSK Motors circa Nov 2015 - circa Sept 2016 and later by Bold Heath Motors around circa April 2017) and a further subsequent material change of use associated with a Sui Generis Hand Car Wash operation (initially Sendi Hand Car Wash circa June 2019 - circa May 2021 and later RS Hand Wash circa Sept 2021 - current), which has been served an Enforcement Notice."

It adds: "Given the enforcement notice includes removal of hardstanding within the approximate location edged red then it is not considered the granting of this certificate would prejudice the enforcement notice". 

The planning officer adds: "The LPA has no evidence to dispute the information contained within the documentation and is satisfied that sufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate that, on the balance of probability, that the land edged in red on the Site Location Plan has been continuously used in association with the wider lawful garage use along with the associated hardstanding for a continuous period, exceeding 10 years and a lawful development certificate should be issued."

A decision notice stated: "Based upon the evidence submitted with the application and having regard to all material facts, St Helens Council hereby give notice that on the date the application was made, the development was lawful within the meaning of Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990".