Damhead car dealership is planning poser

A USED car business will be allowed to operate from a Damhead site – once it gets planning permission.

Midlothian Council’s general purposes committee approved an application by Alan Macdonald and John Tickle for a secondhand car dealer’s licence.

Councillors faced a tricky procedural situation when considering the partnership’s car showroom and office beside Mr Tickle’s home at 25 Damhead.

The committee was told that planning officers had advised Mr Macdonald in June to seek council guidance, a letter the applicant claimed not to have received.

Peter Arnsdorf, development management manager, explained his department’s hands were tied.

He said: “In the absence of guidance, it is not possible to assess whether the premises are suitable and convenient for the purpose. To date, no application has been made for planning permission.”

Mr Arnsdorf confirmed that selling vehicles from a residential property required planning approval.

Planners needed to consider the site’s rural location, traffic and road safety implications, the number of customer visits, plans for road testing cars and the delivery of vehicles.

Mr Macdonald told the committee he had been a car dealer for more than 25 years, but insisted Damhead was a small-scale operation, selling seven or eight cars a month.

He said: “There are very, very few direct sales of cars these days and we get two visitors a week, at most.

“What people don’t understand is that so much work is done on the internet, to the point where a customer makes a choice online, subject to the car being seen – and that can be done at Damhead. It makes it a lot easier for people to buy.”

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