Two businessmen who have worked out of the same unit in Blunsdon for three years were stunned to learn they might be forced to leave.

Robin Trevett runs Trevett’s Conversions, a camper van conversion and customisation business in Kingsdown Lane.

For three years he has shared the unit with Steve Strange who runs the Project Shop, a vehicle body and paint shop and they often collaborate to work on vans.

They’ve been in the light industrial unit, a former kennels and dog-groomers, since December 2016 but have only just been told by the council that their landlord’s application for retrospective permission for their use of the site has been turned down by the council and they could be turfed out.

The authority says its officers are authorised to enforce the decision, but the pair are aiming to stay and an appeal has been lodged.

Mr Trevett said: “The landlord applied for the change of use permission then, when we moved in. We didn’t hear anything for a long time, and we thought it must be all okay.”

“The first year we were here we paid business rates on a rateable value of £6,000. Then the rates were put up and we became exempt, but the council has had money from us and definitely knows we’re here.”

About a year into their stay the men say the received a visit from a planning officer who went away, seemingly satisfied, and again they heard nothing.

Mr Trevett said once the decision had been publicised customers and neighbours had wondered whether they would have to close. “We went to the pub for breakfast with the team, which we do often, and they said straight away ‘Are you still there’? I’ve had customers ring us and ask if we are closing.”

The pair say they don’t understand why the decision took so long, and why their business has now been deemed so unsuitable for the unit. Mr Strange said: “I’ve been going for 10 years, I was less than a mile away and only moved here because the owner had permission for housing. There aren’t many houses here, and there’s another car body shop nearby, there’s skip hire, there’s a cement business and a nursery. When this was a kennels and dog groomers it was approved for up to 200 car journeys a day. We might get five.

“We’ve never had any complaints from anyone in the lane in the time we’ve been here.”

Mr Trevett added: “We both employ an apprentice each and want to give something back to the community and hope they continue in the industry in future, and we both really want to stay here.”

The council said it couldn’t comment as the matter was subject to an appeal. The landlord has bee approached for comment.