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Plant hire firm jobs saved after agreement with planning officers
THE owner of a North Yorkshire plant hire firm which employs almost 50 people has come to an agreement with planning inspectors after months of uncertainty over the company's future.
Giles Potter, from Catton, near Thirsk, appealed against an enforcement notice issued by Hambleton District Council to stop Potter Plant Hire using its village base, and was ordered last summer to remove 50 vehicles and machines used for earth moving.
A public inquiry had been announced to decide the fate of the business - due to take place today (Tuesday, January 8) - but an agreement has now been reached which requires Mr Potter to move from his village location to a site just two miles away.
Mr Potter said: “This news is a relief.
“It has saved 45 to 50 jobs and we will actually be moving to a better location so it is better for us.
“The business has grown and grown since I set it up and some residents were not happy about it, but I appealed against the enforcement notice because it is an established business.
“I surrendered the land in the village and agreed to move to land outside the village which was a compromise made with planning inspectors.”
The site - owned by the Potter family since 1969 – was originally used for arable farming but when the business moved towards poultry farming many of the outbuildings at Village Farm became underused.
Mr Potter established the plant hire business in 1994, and it now includes more than 50 vehicles and machines and employs full-time staff and contractors.
Tim Wood, planning development manager at Hambleton District Council, said: “At a planning committee meeting members granted planning permission for the business to use a site to the east of the farm – as long as they agreed to move off the village site within six months.
“Although Mr Potter did not change the use of his business, there was a marked increase in work there which was unlawful.
“Provided Potter Plant Hire adheres to the agreement, the matter has been resolved and there is now a positive outcome for both Mr Potter and residents in the village.”