The owner of an Angus caravan park where a pensioner perished in a horrific fire last year has been given 28 days to put the necessary paper-work in place for planning permission for his site.
At a special civic licensing committee meeting in Forfar yesterday, councillors turned down an application for a residential caravan site licence from Derek Keillor of the Woodley Caravan Park, on the outskirts of Arbroath.
Members refused the bid, despite a warning from senior councillor Alex King, SNP member for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim that they were “using a sledge hammer to crack a nut”.
Mr Keillor was given 28 days to obtain a certificate of lawfulness after it emerged he had been running the caravan park without planning permission.
Records going back 25 years also found no trace of a building warrant.
Mr King defended Mr Keillor after a report revealed the businessman had been operating the park illegally.
A report by David Thompson, manager of the local authority’s legal team, found the site had been operating since 1959 but did not have planning permission for a permanent site.
Committee convener Craig Fotheringham, Conservative councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw, moved the committee should not grant the licence application.
However, Mr King argued he could see “no reasons” why they should refuse it.
He said: “Not granting this application is like taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut and I urge members to grant this particular application.
“It has been in use for 60 years. We are taking a very grave risk if we do not grant this – we would be laughed out of court.”
Mr Keillor’s application was for a maximum of 32 residential caravans on the site.
The report found planning history could be traced back to 1959 but the permission was “undefined”.
Areas covered by 2005 and 2007 planning permissions were both subject of conditions that limited the period during which caravans can be stationed on the land.
Councillors agreed not to grant the application.
The Director of Legal and Democratic Services was instructed to give the applicant 28 days in which to make legal representations and to obtain a certificate of lawfulness which would allow the application to move forward.
Mr Fotheringham said the matter would be dealt with under delegated authority, once the necessary paperwork was received.