A PLANNING application for a hand car wash has been refused by the council due to “harm” caused to the “openness of the green belt”.

The retrospective application, sent to St Helens Council, was for a change of use to a hand car wash facility to include the retention of structures at Ace of Hearts Garage on Warrington Road, Bold Heath.

Plans said the application site relates to an outdoor hand car wash facility, known as RS Hand Car Wash, which was previously used in connection with a former car sales forecourt (HSK Motors Ltd) prior to the existing use.

The site is positioned on the northern side of the highway, and forms parts of a wider site which compromises the Ace of Hearts Garage, a petrol station, barber’s and an MOT centre. The application site is located within the Green Belt, and Bold Forest Park.

Bold Parish Council raised an objection to the application.

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In a report, case officer Alex Ball stated: “The development does not preserve the openness of the Green Belt and therefore is considered to be inappropriate development in the green belt.

“I conclude that the development on this site would be inappropriate development which, by definition, is harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances”.

It was also said: “The car wash facility is located within a very prominent gateway into St Helens from Warrington. The car wash facility and associated structures introduce visual clutter in a highly prominent location”.

It was added the “introduction of shipping containers on site within a rural location would be stark contrast to the defining character of the area”.

Recommending the application for refusal, the officer added: “The development is inappropriate development in the Green Belt that causes harm to the openness of the green belt and involves encroachment in the countryside.”