A BUSINESSMAN believes that the councillors who refused him permission to run a restaurant near Ross-on-Wye should personally foot the bill after he won an appeal.

Carlos Felices has been told the planning conditions that initially prevented him from running a restaurant, located in a converted barn next door to the Castle Lodge Hotel, have been removed.

The application includes new car parking facilities serving both the hotel and the restaurant, together with junction improvement works.

After gaining planning permission for the restaurant in January 2011, Mr Felices had tried – and failed – on three occasions to get the conditions removed.

However, his appeal against the latest decision was successful.

Mr Felices believes that councillors - and not the taxpayer - should pay him the costs of the appeal proceedings.

“Why should the people of Herefordshire have to pay for it?” asked Mr Felices.

“Both the officers and the Highways Agency recommended it, but I knew before the committee meeting that it would be refused as everyone seems to stick together.

“These councillors play around with people’s lives and why employ a planning officer who knew that it would be refused by the committee? I have wasted a lot of money on this.”

In his ruling, planning inspector Alan M Wood said: "... the council has failed to produce relevant and substantive evidence to show reasonable grounds for a contrary decision to support the reason for refusal.

"I find it therefore that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense has been demonstrated and that a full award of costs is justified."