Deadline past but refugee car wash owner in Spalding fights on

Saleem Hussain, Hersh Sabir, with supporting neighbour Chris Thompson. SG300915-116TW
Saleem Hussain, Hersh Sabir, with supporting neighbour Chris Thompson. SG300915-116TW
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A former refugee from Iraq says working in Spalding and raising a family in the UK is worth fighting for.

The deadline for Mohamed Soucho to quit his car wash in Double Street has now past.

The owner was a refugee who works hard to make his business a success. We should be supporting him

Chris Thompson, neighbour

Days after the announcement Lincolnshire is to welcome 200 refugees from Syria, the car wash remains open and Mr Soucho, with the support of his neighbours, continues to be defiant to the notice served on him by South Holland District Council.

Mr Soucho says he has heard no more since the deadline on October 15, after losing an appeal against a decision by SHDC not to renew planning permission.

He said: “I came here as a refugee in 2002, fleeing the fighting there after my father died.

“I met my wife in the UK and now have two young sons and have invested £70,000 in this business.

“I want to work and support my family - I am not someone who wants to be claiming benefits.

“People would want this from any refugee coming to the county.

“The matter is still in the hands of my barrister and I will carry on fighting to save my business.”

Mr Soucho was served a notice to quit the car wash following a report to South Holland District Council’s planning committee.

The report stated: “The inspector considered the use of the property as a car washing and valeting service has been unacceptably harmful on living conditions of adjacent residents, and that a permanent planning permission should not be granted.

“The inspector was unconcerned with the impact on the conservation area.”

This week a South Holland District Council spokesman said: “Following the appeal decision we wrote to the owner advising him to cease operating otherwise an enforcement notice would be issued.

“The period we gave for operations to cease has now passed, but because this is continuing we will issue an enforcement notice.”

Neighbours continue to speak out out in support of Mr Soucho.

Chris Thompson, who lives opposite, said: “The owner was a refugee who works hard to make his business a success and is a valuable member of our community. We should be supporting him.”

Previously:

Spalding car wash owner vows to fight on after notice to quit