Victory for Mill Street Residents over Tanhouse Farm
Mill Street residents’ campaign to stop Tanhouse Farm running a haulage operation on Green Belt has taken a major step forward this week with the refusal of the Lawful Development Certificate applied for earlier in the year.
The Swanston family, owner of Tanhouse Farm, sold much of its existing yard space to MacArdles to ease financial difficulties and moved operations to the site between Mill Street and the Colnbrook Bypass. Residents were told to “f*** off and mind their own business” by Nick Swanston after objecting to being woken up at 5am by 40 tonne trucks delivering cranes.
Swanston said: “it’s my land and I can do what I like with it, the Council have been trying to stop me for years and failed”.
Angry residents first began lobbying Slough Borough Council to take action back in April 2005, but SBC could not agree on a way forward until the Local Goverment Ombudsman stepped in two years later. SBC decided to draw up new Enforcement Notices for the entire Tanhouse Farm estate, rather than uphold existing notices dating from the 1970s and 1980s, but the threat of appeal by the Swanston family – on over a dozen technicalities – saw SBC withdraw the orders and repay costs believed to be in excess of £60,000.
SBC then refused to discuss further action until it entertained the possibility of a Planning Application by Tanhouse to “legitimise current operations” on an adjacent Green Belt site late last year, a process which took a further six months. This was eventually dismissed following a Flood Assessment.
Tanhouse Farm submitted an Application for a Lawful Development Certificate in February this year, claiming to have used the site continuously for over ten years. Residents put up a rigorous fight and – on instruction from Slough’s “Barrister for Planning” – pooled resources to instruct their own legal counsel at a cost of some £5,000. SBC’s decision, farmed out to an independent legal team, found the Swanston evidence erroneous and lacking and vindicated residents’ near five year struggle.
Ian Hann, Senior Planning Officer for Slough, confirmed today the Council “will be considering the matter further” regarding new enforcement action, but refused to comment further.