Hatfield family owned business of 42 years forced to relocate
PUBLISHED: 16:23 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:23 20 June 2018
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A Hatfield family who have owned a garage for 42 years feel as though the borough council is trying to put them out of business as they are now struggling to relocate.
Owner of Hilltop Services in High View, Garren Beevor, 45, was informed last year that his garage would be demolished ahead of the £45m regeneration plans for Hilltop.
His grandad Harry Dove, 92, who owns Hilltop Taxis, started renting the plot of land from Welwyn Hatfield Council in 1978 and the building holds sentimental value for the family.
The former Onslow St Audrey’s pupil, who took over the garage 24 years ago, was told that he had until July 1 to move but the council has since pushed his leaving date back to March 24, 2019.
Earlier this year, Garren submitted a planning application to relocate to 65 Bishops Rise, which is currently just a grass space, but this has already attracted objections.
He said: “It’s diabolical. When we first put in the application they said it was a good idea.”
The move and construction of a new garage would cost him about £350,000, which would set him back by 22 years in terms of profits.
He added: “The garage makes enough to live on and go on one holiday a year but it doesn’t make a massive amount of money. It feels like they are trying to get rid of us and put us out of business.”
Due to the garage servicing all the vehicles for Hilltop Taxis, Garren said that it would also affect his grandad’s business.
Hatfield Town Council leader Lenny Brandon said: “I really cannot understand the logic in denying this community business of nearly half a century the chance to move on to another site.
“It is not only playing with people’s livelihoods and emotions but a much-needed community asset.”
A spokeswoman for the council said: “The £45m regeneration of High View will bring far-reaching benefits to local people, creating jobs and delivering around 150 homes, better retail units, and new facilities for the community.
“Pre-application discussions took place with Mr Beevor, where we advised that seeking general industrial use could raise planning issues due to how close the new homes will be to his proposed location.
“The application is currently out for consultation and no final decision has been made.”