‘Blackmail’ allegation amid garage wrangle

David Setchell faces prosecution for his unauthorised garage SUS-151006-093659001
David Setchell faces prosecution for his unauthorised garage SUS-151006-093659001

A MAN facing prosecution for a garage built without planning permission was told he was ‘blackmailing’ councillors by threatening to replace it with a ‘revolting’ shipping container.

Worthing planning committee voted to pursue legal action against David Setchell, 49, after the garage remained standing, despite numerous refusals.

But in an unusual twist, neighbours spoke in support of the garage at a hearing last Wednesday, fearing the alternative would be worse.

It was this which led councillor James Doyle to accuse Mr Setchell of ‘blackmailing’ councillors into changing their minds.

“I’m not trying to blackmail them. I tried to say I would need some form of storage,” said Mr Setchell, of West Way, High Salvington.

“I thought it was a vicious attack and if I painted myself as threatening them I apologise for that.”

Council officers had prepared an enforcement report for the committee, requesting permission to take legal action in a bid to get the garage torn down.

Solicitors will decide whether to delay proceedings because Mr Setchell is due to undergo surgery later this month.

Councillor Edward Crouch said: “A container would look revolting but that’s not the point. The point is that this has been through the appropriate processes and numerous times it has been decided that this does do harm to the local street scene.”

Mr Setchell said he would take the garage down when he had recovered as he did not want a criminal record.

But under permitted development rights, he could legally install a shipping container as it is a moveable structure which would not require planning permission

He said he needed storage space and hoped a compromise could be reached with the council.

He said: “I can’t understand the logic behind it. I can’t get my head around the fact they would prefer to see a shipping container there over a nice wooden barn garage.

“It is a nice road. The residents don’t deserve a shipping container but I have got no option.”

The structure was originally installed to replace an old garage, rendered inaccessible due to a steep slope.

With four family cars for Mr Setchell, his wife and two children, he hoped to reduce the space they took up on the street. The garage was never finished due to the planning wrangle.

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