Inquiry told enforcement notices will ‘kill off’ Tockwith business

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THE OWNER of Tockwith Airfield says his business will be “finished” if he has to stop racing cars there, a planning inquiry has been told.

Simon Moore runs the site at Marston Moor airfield near Tockwith, where he employs 20 staff, but six enforcement notices have been issued to him by Harrogate Borough Council.

An ongoing inquiry has been told the notices cover the removal of scrap motor vehicles and tyres dumped without planning permission, the racing and testing of motor vehicles to be ceased and the track to be removed, the cessation of the site as a bus depot, and the removal of go-karting tracks.

Objections to the site have been raised over the years by residents who have complained about the noise and untidiness of the site - a former Second World War airfield.

Representing Mr Moore, barrister David Hardy said the enforcement notices would push Mr Moore out of business and insisted the notices were legally invalid because they were too “vague” and “imprecise”.

Mr Hardy said: “It is important just to set the facts straight of what we are looking at here, as it is fundamental to this appeal.

“If this enforcement notice is applied then it would finish Mr Moore’s business.”

Mr Hardy also told the inquiry that Mr Moore ran a successful business, which has helped train some of the world best motorsport champions.

At the start of the inquiry on Tuesday, independent inspector, John Braithwaite warned residents who wanted to support the enforcement notices that they could not do so on the grounds of noise.

He said: “This inquiry is to establish whether the six uses are lawful or not, and no objections are as such to centre on noise from a legal point of view.”

Speaking on behalf of Harrogate Borough Council lawyer Ruth Stokely, then rephrased the enforcements in a bid to hold up the notices after criticisms from Simon Moore’s legal representatives that they were too vague.

She told the inquiry: “Harrogate Borough Council takes the view that the only arguable basis on which any of the present uses of the site could be said to have achieved lawfulness, is by virtue of 10 years continuous use.”

Miss Stokely added that in the council’s view the Tockwith Airfield site had “physically and functionally, separate and identifiable mixed use of different planning units.”

She also sought to discredit the validity of the original planning permission given to the site saying that planning permission in 1962 was “no longer relevant” and that “only outline planning permission for the site was given in 1970 and “no planning permission relevant to the uses now taking place on the Airfield have been granted.

The inquiry is expected to last until today, with closing arguments and members of the public, many of whom are in support of the enforcement notices, are expected to be heard today.