Council withdraws offer to relocate Hatfield garage
PUBLISHED: 13:37 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:56 24 May 2019
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Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council withdrew its relocation offer for a Hatfield garage this week, after concerns were raised about the suitability of the proposed site.
Garren Beevor, owner of Hilltop Services, was told he had to move out of High View after plans by the council to regenerate the area were confirmed two years ago.
"Since then we have worked with traders to counter any potential impact on their business, relocating 18 local businesses as part of the new scheme," a spokesperson for the council said.
But after being initially offered another Hatfield garage at Fiddlebridge Industrial Estate, which is owned by the council, it was determined that it was not going to be suitable for Mr Beevor's needs.
"We have tried everything possible to find a workable solution for Mr Beevor - at High View and across our other sites," the WHBC spokeswoman explained.
"However, we could not ignore the concerns raised - chiefly the size of the unit for operating a garage and the lack of space for parked cars."
Mr Beevor claims that many people are flagrantly using the space outside and this behaviour is being ignored by the council.
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"They are just discriminating against me," he said. "I am a one man operator. There are other places down there that have three or four people working outside."
"One even has lorries parked outside all the time."
The council has said: "It is a breach of the lease terms for mechanics to work on cars outside of their units and we have written to businesses at Fiddlebridge to reiterate this.
"We have also increased our inspection regimes to make sure this is not taking place.
"We share Mr Beevor's disappointment and are very sorry for the distress and upset this situation has caused.
"Hopefully he understands, through our many conversations with him, that we had very much hoped to arrive at a different outcome."
The garage owner will now receive a statutory compensation payment upon exiting his current premises on Monday, June 3, from the council.
"We continue to offer our support with his move, including providing storage units for his tools. We have put Mr Beevor in touch with local agents and remain committed to helping him find a suitable premise should one come forward in the future," the council spokeswoman said.