DOZENS of caravan owners have been given three weeks to evacuate a storage facility in Alvechurch, after the Planning Inspectorate ordered the site to be closed down.

An email was sent to Caravan Storage West Midlands' customers on November 13, telling them to remove their vehicles from land off Old Rectory Lane by December 7, when security tags will be disabled - or risk facing enforcement action.

The closure comes after an appeal decision by the Planning Inspectorate in March this year, which upheld Bromsgrove District Council's enforcement notice, agreeing the storage site warranted an unauthorised use of green belt land.

An application made by site owner Mark Darlaston for a certificate of lawfulness for the storage of caravans, motorhomes, shipping containers, boats and trailers, had already been refused on appeal in March 2016.

The Planning Inspectorate described the storage site as 'harmful to the attractive rural nature of the immediate area, unhappily intruding into otherwise mainly open countryside'.

Around 100 vehicle owners now face the task of finding and paying for alternative storage in the lead up to Christmas.

James Patterson, who has been storing his caravan at the site for two years, said: "Me and probably 100 other people are paying around £550 a year to store our caravans there - we go and pick them up when we need them and it saves us having them on the drive.

"Now we're being told we've only got a couple of weeks to leave and pay a lump sum to go somewhere else - just before Christmas of all times.

"The amount of notice we've been given is ridiculous and we're already being threatened with enforcement action.

"I've been ringing round all the caravan sites and they're all full - the nearest I can find is Coventry. One of the ones I spoke to actually said, 'there's a lot of you calling up today', because of this."

Ruth Bamford, head of planning at Bromsgrove District Council, said: "[Site users] will need to move their property so that the landowner can remove the facility as required by the decision issued by the Inspector.

"There are various other authorised storage sites available around the district which they should be able to use.

"The laws around development on green belt serve to protect land and alongside the Planning Inspectorate, we will continue to enforce these rules and rigorously reject any unauthorised development.”

Caravan Storage West Midlands was unavailable for comment.