Company Can Finally Put The Tree Up



Company can finally put the tree up
6th December 2017

By Sandra Pearce
A garden centre involved in a long-running dispute with its local council has been given the green light to sell Christmas trees and ‘celebrate Christmas after all’. 
Rob Scott, owner of Hare Hatch Sheeplands, had applied to Wokingham Borough Council for permission to sell Christmas trees and decorations and for a Santa’s grotto. Wokingham Borough Council said it would not consider the application due to ‘ongoing legal action’.
In a newsletter to customers, Rob said: “After consulting one of the country’s leading experts in planning matters we have been told we will be able to celebrate Christmas after all, despite the council's confusing actions.
“His advice was that we can sell items such as fresh-cut Christmas trees from the car park. He had no doubt that this was totally legal within the planning consents we already have. This means that we have the opportunity to give our customers a Christmas to enjoy.”
Wokingham Borough Council had successfully argued that Rob had used more than 9,000sq m of green land illegally. Rob received a two-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs for contempt of court.
In the meantime, the site of the garden centre has been put forward as potential land for development in a draft Wokingham local plan, which proposes where housing, business and leisure developments should take place. More than 200 sites are being considered but campaigners are fighting any development on green belt land.