A CAR wash which continued to operate despite lockdown restrictions has been served with a prohibition notice by Barnsley Council’s enforcement officers.

Cudworth Hand Car Wash, on Pontefract Road, became the latest business to receive a £1,000 fine for flouting lockdown rules which prevent non-essential venues from trading.

The fine has to be paid within 28 days and the notice is a legal instruction to the business owner to cease trading which, if breached again, could result in prosecution or a closure order being served.

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The action follows reports made to the council by members of the public, raising concerns that the business was continuing to operate.

A subsequent visit was made, where a community safety officer witnessed members of the public having their vehicles washed by staff at the site, something owner Fatjon Gosturani told the Chronicle was a ‘misunderstanding’.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley’s director of public health, added: “This has been a very hard time but the rules around which types of business can operate during the current lockdown are quite clear.

“The vast majority of Barnsley businesses and residents are making the effort to follow all the rules and guidance, even though it hasn’t been easy, and I thank them for this.

“There is no excuse for failing to follow the rules, we have provided support and information on support grants available to businesses via Enterprising Barnsley and we will not hesitate to take action on those who do not comply.

“Our infection rates are currently very high compared with other areas of the country, which puts Barnsley in a very precarious position.

“Breaches like this put staff, customers and the wider public at increased risk.”

The venue, which has been blighted by controversy since it opened on a former petrol station site in 2015, secured permanent planning permission in 2018 following spells of operating on temporary 18-month permits.

Having initially applied for planning permission in 2014 - which was refused by Barnsley Council’s planning board due to concerns about noise and water spray - the Planning Inspector granted temporary approval for an 18-month period on appeal.

When that permission came to an end, members of the planning board conducted a site visit and opted to reinstate the temporary 18-month licence when it ended.

However, bosses also appealed that decision with the Planning Inspectorate, who ruled in favour of the car wash again and granted permanent permission.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed more officers are carrying out patrols to step up enforcement on those believed to be flouting restrictions.

A spokesman said: “Generally, most people are following the rules, listening to the advice and acting in a sensible manner in order to protect one another.

“However, we continue to receive reports of blatant and persistent rule-breaking which must be addressed.

“It’s not about catching anybody out, but we cannot ignore any dangerous and reckless behaviour.

“This puts other people at risk, especially the vulnerable, and fuels the spread of the virus.

“It’s against those people that we need to take the appropriate action.”