A car wash, which neighbours say emits “relentless noise”, will be transformed into houses and flats.

But the Tilehurst car wash on 20B Norcot Road is set to stay until at least Spring, despite neighbours’ concerns.

Neighbours say the noise is having a “huge impact” on them and claim the site had never previously been used as a car wash.

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The council is now looking to take enforcement action against Tilehurst Hand Car Wash to minimise the impact on neighbours

Why are neighbours unhappy?

Neighbours say the site was never previously a car wash and that there is no permission for this use.

One neighbour said: “We have lived here for 35 years and the site has previously never been used as a hand car wash.

“The car wash is in a residential area and is creating an extreme amount of noise and disturbance, including vehicular noise and pollution.

“It is having a huge impact on our lives as it’s at the bottom of our garden. We can no longer sit and enjoy our garden without wearing noise cancelling headphones.

“They are in operation seven days a week, 8am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm on Sundays and bank holidays so there is no respite to the noise.”

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Another neighbour said: “The noise does not just impact life in our garden but inside our property particularly when windows are open.

“This coupled with the long working hours and loud music played by the staff and extended weekend opening makes the business use inappropriate for a residential area.”

A third neighbour added: “It is a residential area and all you can hear all day is the car wash.”

But the leaseholder for the car wash said claims he does not have permission to use the site as a car wash are incorrect.

His planning consultant Chris Keen said the historical use of the site was for car repairs, car sales and car washing.

He said the car wash will remain in place until the site is re-developed into housing in Spring, adding: “The council hasn’t taken any action because I don’t think they can.”

What are the latest plans for the site?

The council begun to investigate concerns about the car wash activities after receiving complaints from neighbours.

In response, the leaseholder of Tilehurst Hand Car Wash applied for a certificate from the council to establish the use of the site as lawful and the council paused its investigation.

But at the same time, the landlord was applying to turn the site into houses and flats.

The application for three houses to be built at the car wash site were approved in February this year, while proposals to demolish the neighbouring car sales building and build four flats have now been recommended for approval by officers.

There will be three one-bed flats and one two-bed flats, if approved.

With the housing plans making quick progress, the leaseholder has now withdrawn the application to allow the landlord to go ahead with plans for houses and flats.

What happens next?

The council says it will continue pursuing enforcement action due to the noise caused by car wash, which had been paused pending the conclusion of the certificate application.

Officers said they will look at temporary measures initially to prevent the harm caused from the car wash, if planning permission is granted soon to redevelop the site into flats and works start in Spring.

If the plans are not approved or work does not begin in Spring, further enforcement action would be needed.