Limo firm told to stop running party buses from home

Limo busness which is based in a residential street in   Firs Copse, Waterlooville
Limo busness which is based in a residential street in Firs Copse, Waterlooville

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ENFORCEMENT action has been taken against a limousine company for running a coach and minibus firm from a house.

Chris Webb, the owner of Limo Hire, based in Fir Copse Road, Waterlooville, has been told he must not operate any vehicles other than unmodified limousines from the house, which is also his family home.

The 41-year-old father-of-three says he intends to appeal on the grounds that the entire business has been running for more than 10 years giving him ‘grandfather rights’ to carry on trading.

But councillors at a recent development management committee at Havant Borough Council did not believe him.

In March, he was given a certificate of lawfulness allowing him to run the limousine business after he proved it had been going for more than 10 years.

He must cease trading with any other vehicles – including stretch limousines and party buses – within three months of the enforcement order being issued or face an unlimited fine.

He says he trawled through his contacts and come up with videos and photographs from weddings which show his vehicles in use in the 1990s.

And he says he has a letter from Havant Borough Council dated 1998 warning him about parking his stretch limousine inappropriately.

But on the balance of probability the committee found his case was not proved.

Mr Webb said: ‘We started about 15 years ago and proved it.

‘We gave them photographs and statements from people who got married with us which prove it goes all the way back to 1995. We don’t park the vehicles on the street and we don’t want to because that would upset the neighbours and it wouldn’t be fair.

‘We conduct our business quietly – the limousine business isn’t noisy or dirty.

‘This has been caused by one neighbour who has a vendetta against us.’

There are three spaces at the front of Mr Webb’s house and more in his garage and a hard standing at the back.

He said: ‘They want me to cease trading stretch limousines – but there is no difference between a limousine and a stretch limousine.’

The council disputes this and considers a normal limousine a vehicle designed to carry eight passengers and a stretch limousine one that has been modified.

Mr Webb says he has instructed his solicitor to appeal against the ruling.