A GUESThouse proprietor claims a row over parking is driving him out of business.

When Bill Dockery took over Green Grove Guesthouse, Gilesgate, Durham City, two years ago, it already had a history of parking problems.

As one of the main thoroughfares into the city, the road is often busy, with people jostling for parking bays.

Soon after taking the business over, it became apparent to Mr Dockery that it could not survive with only three rooms, so he applied to Durham City Council for permission to let five.

The council refused, saying there were insufficient parking spaces for them, and its decision was supported in two appeals.

Mr Dockery, who has enlisted the support of Durham City MP Gerry Steinberg, said that unless the council backs down, he will be forced to close the 23-year-old business.

He said: "If the council doesn't back down, we will leave at the end of the month.

"I'm hopeful they will, because I think they're wrong. I just can't believe this is all happening."

Mr Dockery said he disagreed with the council's argument that there was no room for parking.

"We have enough space at the back that we could redevelop to make room for five cars," he said.

"There is an area at the front of the house which we sometimes allow guests to park in, and that was one of the council's main objections.

"They said we were causing inconvenience to our neighbours, yet there are two businesses near us which park cars there every day."

Mr Dockery said he had even gained permission from Enterprise Inns to use the nearby Durham Light Infantryman car park, but to no avail.

A Durham City Council spokeswoman said: "The county highways authority and two independent planning inspectors have come to the same conclusion as Durham City Council - Mr Dockery can continue to run his bed and breakfast in accordance with the original planning permission for three rooms."