Popular Ottery St Mary recycle firm Raxhayes appeals planning notice which could force it to close

Tracey and Fred Hayman are appealing an enforcement notice from East Devon District Council.

Tracey and Fred Hayman are appealing an enforcement notice from East Devon District Council. - Credit: Archant

The owners of a popular Ottery recycling business have launched an appeal against a council notice which would force them to close.

Tracey and Fred Hayman began operating Recycling at Raxhayes, in Holcombe Lane, in October and said they did not know they had to apply for planning permission.

East Devon District Council officers have said the couple have changed the use of the land for retail by building three storage units, portable toilets, two barns and two metal gates without consent.

The couple collect unwanted items to sell at the farm, including furniture, books and clothes.

They said they would now be submitting a retrospective planning application for the development on farm land owned by Fred’s father.

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But the couple have also appealed an enforcement notice issued by the council.

They argue planning permission should be granted for the items in the notice, and the steps required to comply with the requirements are ‘excessive’.

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The notice requires the couple permanently cease using the land for retail use and remove all items and buildings.

Tracey said: “It would break my heart if this place shuts down because I think it is a good thing.”

Fred, 44, said: “I would be more devastated for the visitors and customers who come here and use it. I think every community should have two or three things like this.

“The most important thing that people leave with is not the bargain, it’s a smile and the connection with friends they make.”

A council officer said the unauthorised use of the land and associated developments was ‘not appropriate’ as it is adjoining the East Devon Area of Natural Beauty.

The business is open four days a week and hopes to employ staff and volunteers and offer a range of services including educational visits.

Fred said: “Someone’s rubbish is someone else’s treasure. We want this to be here for the future and every so often the place changes and adapts to people’s needs.”

People can comment on the appeal before Friday, July 21. Visit the district council’s planning portal or email teame2@pins.gsi.gov.uk.

Comments must quote the appeal reference APP/U1105/C/17/3173284 and the fate of the application will be determined by the planning inspector.

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