Bath physiotherapist wins her planning battle to stay in business
A physiotherapist is celebrating after winning a planning battle with the local council which threatened her business.
Erika Hayward, from Bathampton, said she was relieved her six-year-old business would continue to operate after being told by Bath and North East Somerset Council that because it was not close enough to a bus stop it would have to move.
The former Somerset Cricket Club physio set up her own clinic at her parents' home at Hampton Cottage in Bathampton in 2006.
At the time she was told by B&NES that she did not need any permissions to convert one room at the house into the business.
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However, last year a complaint by a neighbour brought the business to the council's attention again and Ms Hayward, 29, was advised to apply for a retrospective change of use.
Initially, under designated powers, B&NES refused the application because of inadequate public transport in Bathampton. It claimed the application went against its Local Plan which aims to reduce people's reliance on cars.
Ms Hayward re-applied in March of this year and this time the application was heard by the council's development control committee, at the request of councillor Geoff Ward (Con, Bathavon North), and approved.
Ms Hayward said: "I couldn't believe it when it was refused under designated powers.
"The planning officer said it was failing because it wasn't close enough to public transport, therefore it wasn't sustainable."
Ms Hayward said the business was a ten-minute walk from two bus stops and that 44 per cent of her clients either walked or cycled to their appointments.
She said: "I'd worked really hard for five years building up the business. It came as a great shock when it didn't get planning and that we had to fight."
The application received 89 letters of support and more than 20 clients attended the development control committee last month when the application was approved.
Ms Hayward said: "I agree that sustainability and the environment need to be taken into account but in this economic climate other aspects need to be considered."
A spokesman for B&NES said: "In the Local Planning Authority's view, the proposed change of use, by reason of the creation of a commercial use in a location which is remote from services and inadequately served by public transport, would result in an increased dependency on private car journeys."
The spokesman added the development control committee decided to go against the officer recommendation claiming the development would not result in an increase in car journeys.