Car dealer preparing for legal battle after plans approved which will ‘block access’ to showroom

  • Used car dealer threatens legal action over plans for new flats adjacent to his business
  • AB Autos owner James Brayley says proposals will block access to showroom
  • Boss insists that designs breach long-standing access agreement, registered with the Land Registry

Time 8:23 am, April 18, 2024

A car dealer is threatening to take legal action after plans were approved which will ‘block access’ to his business.

James Brayley, owner of AB Autos in Bristol, is furious at proposals for five new flats adjacent to his showroom being handed the green light.

The plans, which have been given the go-ahead by South Gloucestershire Council, do not include parking spaces for residents.

Instead, they will be incentivised to buy bicycles and a bike rack will be installed at an existing carpark next to the site. Developers also want to construct a large three storey extension on the car park.

However, Brayley says his family business has right of way over the land and is now threatening to take out an injunction.

He says the agreement, registered with the Land Registry, has been in place for three decades, having first been agreed by his late father.

The car salesman now believes that the new bike rack would block access to his showroom, which could have a significant impact on the business.

He said: ‘In 1994, my late father came to an agreement with the then owners of 141 High Street that we would have permanent and unrestricted right of way over the first seven metres of the boundary wall from 1 Victoria Street. This is registered with the Land Registry.

‘The proposal to locate the cycle and bin store on my right of way clearly breaches this agreement. If the planning permission is granted, it will be extremely difficult for myself and my customers to gain access to my business.

‘If the plans are not revised, I’ll have no choice but to seek an injunction through the courts. I would suggest the developer finds an alternative location for the bin and cycle store, not on my right of way.’

Brayley alleges the plans breach long-standing agreement, registered with the Land Registry in 1994 (Google Street View)

Bristol Live reports that planners checked with the Land Registry prior to approving the plans, and found that the land in question was owned by the applicant.

Outlining his position, architect Duncan Cryer said: ‘Ten years ago, we would expect a typical housing application to include parking, and office parking in particular in the centre of Bristol was in very high demand. However, over the last 10 years we’ve seen a significant shift in this.

‘Offices in the centre of town, a lot of them are now giving over car parking spaces to cycling facilities, cycle storage, changing rooms, showers, tool stations. We’re seeing a significant uplift in sustainable transport measures and a decrease in parking demand.

‘The site is in easy walking distance to the High Street, Page Park, a doctor’s surgery, dentist and leisure centre. The Bristol to Bath cycle trail is about 800 metres south-west of the site, as well as two other cycle routes approximately half a mile away.

‘For trains, you’ve got Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway both within a half hour cycle or easy bus ride. While it hasn’t got any car parking spaces, in such a location we should probably be questioning why any project like this would have parking.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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