Cheshire East Council is to draw up clearer rules for dealing with planning applications for hand car washes – following concerns around a number of operation issues.

The local authority will work with partners, including the Environment Agency and water utilities companies, to discuss a wide range of concerns that emerge from both authorised and unauthorised hand car washes across the county.

In 2018, the council received eight applications for car wash facilities on six sites. Three were withdrawn, two refused permission and two approved with conditions. One is still awaiting a decision.

A report by planning officers highlights a number of issues faced by Cheshire East Council and other UK local authorities owing to the proliferation of hand car washes, some of which spring up without planning permission.

The council will produce a supplementary planning document, which may be put before cabinet later this year. The document will seek to give clearer guidance around a number of planning issues, including noise nuisance, unsightly canopies, standing traffic in residential areas and potential air quality issues and foul water contamination.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “We recognise there are a number of perfectly legitimate authorised hand car washes operating around the borough, which provide a good service and meet all the conditions required of the operator.

“Cheshire East, along with other local authorities, wishes to regularise the planning aspects of this industry and will look at how current planning policy – and other council policies – may need to be updated to take into account the many issues that need to be examined when dealing with fresh applications.”

While current planning applications have been determined within the existing policy framework, the council has become aware that this type of activity is a cause of growing concern.

It is considered that multi-agency partnership working will provide the best vehicle for co-ordinated management and regulation of hand car washes at a local level.