A controversial car wash has infuriated neighbours by extending its operating hours to seven days a week.
Residents of Shenley Road, Dartford, staged a peaceful protest when Diori Hand Car Wash put a sign up last month saying they were open all day, seven days a week.
In what leader of Dartford council Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) admitted was a “draconian move”, the council swiftly issued a Stop Notice on the business, limiting its opening times.
Diori’s opened in May this year – despite not having any planning permission.
An application was rejected by Dartford council in 2011 on the basis of parking, noise and traffic problems.
On appeal the government’s Planning Inspectorate approved it, but that permission expired before the business was set up.
Dartford council issued Diori’s with a planning enforcement notice but says it is unable to shut the business down completely because of the government approval.
It will have to wait until February next year when it will go up before a planning inspector again.
Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite
Cllr Kite added: “We were able to stop them in this instance because their actions drastically breached what their expired planning permission granted them.
“But I feel tremendously sorry for the people in the area, they shouldn’t have to put up with this.”
Christine Ganley who lives nearby in The Brent, joined peaceful protesters and said: “I feel very disheartened by it all. We don’t seem to have any rights as residents, the emphasis is all put on businesses.
“The planning inspectorate doesn’t know anything about our area so for them to be able to override the council’s decision is grossly unfair.
“They don’t have to listen to the awful sound of the car wash, it’s loud and irritating, like nails on a blackboard.”
Miss Ganley added: “It upsets me that somebody who has broken the law is allowed to keep going while we all suffer, until a decision is made.
"It’s like a thief being told to carry on thieving until his court date.”