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Car wash canopy approved at site where previous planning breaches have been investigated

Councillors today approved a retrospective planning application for a rubber canopy at a car wash in Cwmbran that has been investigated for breaching previous planning conditions.

UK Hand Carwash is based on Newport Road in Llantarnam. The application was submitted following a visit by council officers to carry out enforcement action. The l-shaped green canopy had already been built.

a car wash

This morning’s meeting was to make a decision on the canopy but committee members and the report raised previous complaints from residents. The business, on the site of a former fruit and veg shop (previously a petrol station) opened without permission in 2012 and was given temporary planning approval. This was removed and full permission was approved in 2014 as ‘the impact on residential amenity was considered acceptable’.

A condition of previous approvals was for only one jet wash to be used but the council report said residents have complained about three being used on the site.

Cllr Catherine Bonera, St Dials Ward, asked for an update on enforcement action about the extra jet washes. Simon Pritchard, assistant planner for Torfaen Council, said that officers met with the owner on the site to remind him that only one jet wash should be used. He said: “Since that we have not had any more complaints about the jet wash.”

Cllr Bonera said that the size of the canopy seemed large for one jet wash but she was “pleased” that the problem had been dealt with

Cllr Norma Parish, chair of the committee, reminded members that the application was solely about the canopy at the site. 

Cllr Karl Gauden,  Llanfrechfa and Ponthir Ward, said: “It’s quite telling that the three ward councillors have taken it upon themselves to raise objections to his and of course, they are best placed to know this site better than anyone.” He said if the application was approved he was “concerned” it could lead to more enforcement action for the council and extra work for the team. Cllr Gauden felt “not entirely confident” that based on the “evidence in the report” that this wouldn’t continue. 

Mr Pritchard again reminded the committee that this application was just about the canopy and there were conditions on the site that the council can enforce against.

Cllr Parish said that enforcement officers were aware that only jet wash could be used on the site. 

Cllr Steven Evans, Upper Cwmbran Ward, asked if there was a canopy on the site when it was a petrol station as from his memory of working in the area there was along with a car wash. He said: “So really it’s only another canopy going up, if another one has been taken down.”

Mr Pritchard said a member of the public told them there was a canopy but officers couldn’t find any records or photos of this.

Letter of support and letters against

A letter of support said that the ‘structures improve the aesthetic of the site and provide necessary cover to the
employees. I would like it to remain maintained.’

Council officers summarised the issues in three letters of objection into these 11 points.

1) constant noise from the spray machines
2) 3 cars being cleaned alongside each other when only given consent for 1 jet spray. They
have been regularly using 3 spray guns when they only have permission to use 1, this has been
reported to TCBC planning.
3) shouting above the spray noise, in a residential area
4) spray still going onto the road causing a hazard to pedestrians and vehicles
5) rags and cloths being left on the fence to dry facing the road
6) sign says hand car wash not spray
7) The canopy and car wash itself has had an effect on the character of the area
8) We are concerned about the canopy how it looks as an individual design and how it fits into
the street and other houses.
9)The canopy is overbearing and it harms the character of the road
10) There is also a safety aspect as it draws the attention of vehicles travelling past, sometimes
cars breaking hard to pull into the bay
11) there is a potential noise issue due to the location of the canopy. During their everyday
activity noise generated under the covered area may potentially add to the noise generated from
the use of the site.

The report included comments from  the three county borough councillors for the Ward

Councillor Alan Slade: This business has extended its operations since first obtaining planning permission and is now functioning beyond the planning conditions originally imposed. The employees are regularly using more than the one jet wash agreed. Residents are now complaining regularly about the noise nuisance caused by the jet washers and the increased amount of spray being generated. The car wash is inconsistent with the quiet residential area in which it resides and any further extension to its operation should be refused.

Councillor Thomas: This canopy has exacerbated the sounds of this business to the detriment of the residents of Newport Road. It has also increased its business and this has forced the staff to use more washing equipment and space for washing against their planning conditions. I feel this car wash has now out grown this site and if the owners wish to have a car wash this size they need to move to a bigger location.

Councillor Nick Jones: I have received numerous complaints from local residents regarding the installation of the canopy on site. From their perspective it is deemed an eyesore and have raised concerns on what further such construction may take place on this site. In addition there is a potential noise issue due to the location of
the canopy. During their everyday activity noise generated under the covered area may potentially add to the noise generated from the use of the site.


The application was approved with Cllr Bonera voting against and Cllr Gauden and Cllr Horlor both abstaining.


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Car wash canopy approved at site where previous planning breaches have been investigated

a car wash
The car wash on Newport Road in Llantarnam