Garden centre's farm shop may close due to 'mistake'

The multiple Garden Retail Award-winning Sidmouth Garden Centre has been hit by a "mistake" caused by its local council, which has put its new Riverford Farm Shop under threat of closure.

East Devon District Council gave "informal advice", saying centre owner Ian Barlow did not need planning permission for Riverford to lease a 110sq m farm shop for seven years in a new building on the site in May. The site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Council planners then changed their minds and decided last week at a development control meeting that Riverford must cease trading at the £150,000 building within two years.

A council representative said: "We made a mistake and he understandably acted upon the advice. We're not getting at the centre but if it changed hands other things may happen to the site."

Barlow used green oak rather than metal frame for the new building. He said: "I've spent £250,000 on the building and court cases.

"I'm waiting for an enforcement notice and have two months to appeal after that but don't think I can afford to. I've done everything by the book."

The council blames "a conflict" between supporting the local economy and enforcing planning law.

Barlow says neighbouring Waitrose has been given permission to extend 10 times as much as he has.

The council blames "a conflict" between supporting the local economy and enforcing planning law. It added: "Waitrose is within the town boundary but also there was no other site available for a large food store in the town. Conversely, the farm shop could easily operate from either Sidmouth town centre or another town-centre location.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Are garden centres taking business from department stores?

Are garden centres taking business from department stores?

Can other garden centres learn from Petersham Nurseries and the fusion of retail elements in its new Covent Garden outlet?

Consolidation reaching ever further across horticulture

Consolidation reaching ever further across horticulture

Consolidation is stretching across the nursery and retail horticulture sectors, with Dutch corporate finance company Oaklins saying the horticulture market is now going through another wave of consolidation.

Electric car charging: an opportunity for garden centres?

Electric car charging: an opportunity for garden centres?

There are 11,700 electric car-charging points across the UK but only eight at garden centres, so more can be done to take the opportunity in garden retail.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles