Nothing to chauffeur it: CCTV captures luxury limos at boss' home despite ban

Philip Thompson (left) of East Bergholt, is still bound to the terms of a council order

Philip Thompson (left) of East Bergholt, is still bound to the terms of a council order which prevents him from storing limousines used for the purposes of a vehicle hire business at his home. Top right is CCTV captured in August of a white limo leaving his house, and Independent councillor John Hinton - Credit: ARCHANT/SUBMITTED

Furious villagers have branded a council’s enforcement efforts a “joke” after CCTV appeared to capture breaches of a court order banning a businessman from storing limos at his home.

Babergh District Council (BDC) took East Bergholt limo hire boss Philip Thompson to court in 2015.

Under the injunction served on him, which still remains in place, Mr Thompson is not allowed to cause or permit his property, at Chadacre, Whitesfield, East Bergholt, to be used for the purposes of a vehicle hire business.

The order also bans cars used for the purposes of a vehicle hire business from being parked or stored on the property or in nearby Whitesfield Road.

A white stretched limo leaving Chadacre

A white stretched limo leaving Chadacre - Credit: SUBMITTED

Now angry villagers and their district councillor have contacted BDC with a series of CCTV images, the most recent captured from May this year until mid-August.

They depict two stretched limousines - a white Ford Lincoln and a black Ford Limo - parked outside Chadacre. Both vehicles are taxed and have up-to-date MOTs.

Other CCTV stills appear to show the vehicles being transported to and from the property.

Similar cars feature in the fleet advertised on the Essex & Suffolk Limousine Hire website, which also lists Chadacre as its business address.

CCTV captured in July of a black Ford Limo (left) parked at Mr Thompson's home

CCTV captured in July of a black Ford Limo (left) parked at Mr Thompson's home - Credit: SUBMITTED

Most Read

Mr Thompson said the cars currently parked on his property, where he has lived for the past 28 years, are for “personal use by myself and my partner”.

He confirmed there had been contact between himself and BDC, the most recent on July 7 of this year, which was “fully complied with”.

The father-of-two also said he was intending on putting in an application to run the business from home.

“Should the council wish to discuss anything further with me regarding this matter, I am always available to do so,” he said.

The fleet of limousines as advertised on the Essex & Suffolk Limousine Hire website

The fleet of limousines as advertised on the Essex & Suffolk Limousine Hire website, which lists Chadacre as its business address - Credit: ESSEX & SUFFOLK LIMOUSINE HIRE WEBSITE

He added that his GP had advised him to “avoid unnecessary stressful situations, such as being hounded by neighbours”.

One villager said they feel the council isn't taking any notice of their concerns.

“Photographic evidence has been provided but for some reason, BDC isn’t taking any notice," they added.

Phil Thompson of East Bergholt

Phil Thompson of East Bergholt (library image) - Credit: Gregg Brown

"The answer I constantly get is ‘we’ll look into the matter and report back to you'. This, I now class as a joke.”

BDC confirmed that the injunction, served against Mr Thompson and associated businesses, is still in force.

Despite CCTV appearing to show otherwise, a spokeswoman said Mr Thompson had moved all his stretched limousines out of the district since the council’s injunction in September 2015.

“The vehicles remaining at Mr Thompson’s property are not limousines and he claims these are predominantly for personal use," she added.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and have written to Mr Thompson reminding him of the terms of the injunction, to act as a deterrent, whenever we believe that limousines may be being parked at his property."

Independent councillor for East Bergholt, John Hinto

Independent councillor for East Bergholt, John Hinton, claimed that there had been a " lackadaisical attitude to settling the problem" throughout Babergh District Council (file image) - Credit: ARCHANT

John Hinton, Independent councillor for the village, criticised what he described as a lack of meaningful action on behalf of BDC.

He called on them to investigate further, rather than just write to the businessman.

“The efforts of enforcement by the council, in this case, are pretty pathetic," he claimed.

"Throughout the council, there seems to be a lackadaisical attitude to actually settling the problem."

The councillor added that he felt it was a kick in the teeth to taxpayers who are effectively paying enforcers’ salaries.

He said: “The council went to the expense of getting the evidence and putting the case together before the judge, so they should be now seeing that the law is upheld.” 

Frustrated villagers captured CCTV images dating from 2016 to 2021

Frustrated villagers captured CCTV images dating from 2016 to 2021 - Credit: SUBMITTED

BDC chiefs added that while they worked “incredibly hard” to achieve the best outcome for villagers back in 2015, the council recognises that the court has limited powers to enforce occasional breaches.

“While we share the frustration of villagers, we must also be realistic about the court’s limited powers to enforce occasional breaches and the cost of pursuing any legal action to the taxpayer," a spokeswoman added.

"We have managed to claim back almost £10,000 in legal costs in relation to this case previously, but these aren’t always recoverable.

“Should there be evidence, however, that the business is operating permanently from East Bergholt, we will not hesitate to explore further action."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter