Hare Hatch Sheeplands centre suffers planning delay "hammer blow"

Hare Hatch Sheeplands garden centre in Berkshire suffered a "hammer blow" after a planning inquiry to decide its future was adjourned.

The centre's owners must wait until October after Government planning inspector Nicholas Freeman accepted Wokingham Borough Council’s plea to stall proceedings due to ongoing illness of a key witness.

The garden centre near Twyford was appealing against an enforcement notice issued by the council over its illegal expansion on to green belt land, which staff claim could force the business to close.

Speaking after the hearing, owner Rob Scott said: "The successful request for the inquiry to be adjourned is yet another hammer blow to Sheeplands.

"The council seems unable to understand the harm these delays are doing to our viability as a business, to our employees, suppliers, customers and all the other people who rely so much on our future success."

Edmund Robb of Prospect Law, representing the borough council, requested the adjournment because of the witness’ illness and to consider further changes at the London Road site that may require the enforcement notice to be amended.

Michael Rudd, representing Sheeplands, reasoned there would be sufficient expertise for the sick officer to be replaced for the inquiry, but the inspector sided with the council and shared his hope that a resolution can be made during the interlude.

The inquiry is scheduled to resume on October 8.

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