RESIDENTS are objecting to a garden centre’s plans to sell cars – just weeks after it submitted a controversial application for a car washing facility.

The Oaks garden centre in Queen Anne Drive, Merley, is seeking temporary permission for three years to sell cars on part of its site.

Dozens of residents have already objected to the plans, for similar, if not the same reasons they objected to the car wash.

They fear both ventures encroach on greenbelt land, although the developers say that the site of the car sales facility has previously been used as an ancillary car park and will not have any further impact on the greenbelt.

In a statement accompanying the application, planning consultant Ken Parke explains the majority of the car sales business is internet-based. Interested customers will view vehicles online and make an appointment to view one.

“In visual terms the use is similar to a car sales forecourt, however in activity terms the numbers of trips generated would be much less than, say, for a main dealer,” Mr Parke said.

“The proposals represent a beneficial use for a confirmed commercial site with no greater impact of activity than the existing authorised use.”

However, objecting residents claim it is a “token” planning application as they say the site is already being used to display cars for sale.

Richard Stevens said he was “really unimpressed that the sale of cars has been ongoing for so long before applying for planning”.

“When I look out of a rear window from any one of three rooms, I now have an unsightly view of some cars. This coupled with the potential unnecessary car wash – I really feel that the ‘garden centre’ is being used for anything but,” he said.

Frank de Mello said: “The one thing that seems to be missing from The Oaks is anything to do with horticulture!

“The site is being developed for other reasons than a garden centre on greenbelt land, and the application should be refused by the full planning committee and not allowed to slip under the radar by delegated powers.”

Chris Black said The Oaks’ plans represented a “gradual industrialisation of the area”.

“If approved this would considerably increase the traffic flow in a location close to the busy Gravel Hill junction as well as that with Rempstone Road.”

Both of The Oaks’ planning applications are being considered by Poole council.