A luxury car dealer has found himself on a collision course with a leading island developer.
Steve ‘Bubs’ Williams of Elite Vehicles returned home from holiday in Ibiza to find the car lot on Peel Road, Douglas, had been fenced off – leaving between 25 and 30 vehicles trapped inside including a Porsche Cayenne, a BMW convertible, a Mercedes estate and Nissan 350Z.
Owner of the site, Dandara, had earlier put up notices instructing all vehicles be removed by May 24 before the entire showroom and forecourt was fenced off.
It has launched legal action to recover more than £3,000 it says is owed by Mr Williams.
Following talks with the landowner, Mr Williams moved all of the remaining cars over the weekend.
‘We took matters into our own hands,’ said a ‘media spokesman’ for Mr Williams.
He said a counter claim had been lodged against Dandara for ‘punitive damages’.
Ciaran Downey, housing director at Dandara, told iomtoday: ‘In August 2012, Dandara agreed to release Mr Williams of Elite Vehicles from his lease of the Athol Garage site and at his request we granted him a one year licence to occupy part of the forecourt on condition that he paid the outstanding rates and insurance, however, despite numerous phone calls chasing payment, this debt of £3,050 is still outstanding.
‘There was no ‘gentleman’s agreement’ allowing Mr Williams to remain ‘free of charge’ on the premises after the licence expired in August 2013.
Despite repeated requests to pay the outstanding debt of £3,050 and to enter into a new licence agreement or vacate the site, he has failed to do so. He has now been trespassing for almost 10 months!
‘Under the terms of the licence agreement we have lawful authority to remove any property (including vehicles) left on our land.
‘We have not used any of the heating oil that he claims to have left in the tank, he has not paid any of the electric bills since August 2012 (we have) and we are resigned to paying for the disposal of anything he may have left on the premises.
‘Athol Garage is one of a number of premises which we allow the Fire Service and police to use free of charge for training purposes.’
Mr Williams, aged 41, of Onchan, who set up Elite Vehicles in 1996, said Dandara had behaved ‘absolutely disgracefully’. ‘I genuinely have no idea as to why my vehicles were fenced in,’ he said.
He said he had previously had a good relationship with Dandara and ‘never missed a payment’ – and claimed he had continued to pay when the licence ended.
‘I tried to contact Dandara but according to them I had disappeared and they decided to fence in my cars,’ he said.
He said the value of the cars initially trapped behind the fence was £250,000.
Dandara has applied to transform the former Athol Garage site into 74 flats, having already secured approval in principle in December 2011 to redevelop the site for residential purposes.
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