The owner of Hare Hatch Sheeplands says he is looking forward to rebuilding the business. This is after receiving permission for a plant sales area.
Rob Scott got three-year temporary consent by a planning inspector following an appeal.
This allows him to change the use of one of the greenhouses and a small outdoor area from plant growing to sales.
Wokingham Borough Council had refused to make a decison on the application for 18 months. Mr Scott appealed.
The council had taken action against Mr Scott for unauthorised expansion into the green belt.
This resulted in him receiving a two-month suspended prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay thousands of pounds for contempt of court.
Hare Hatch Sheeplands appeal since 2017
A High Court injunction issued in 2017 prevented any further enforcement action. It also prohibited any more unauthorised development at the site. So the council did not consider Mr Scott’s application.
But now planning inspector Ian Radcliffe has ruled that his plans should happen.
Mr Radcliffe said they would allow Sheeplands to compete with other garden centres.
He also noted the amount of support in the community for the centre. Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP Theresa May criticised attempts to close the business.
Mr Radcliffe said: “It is clear that the relationship between the parties is difficult. I have reached my decision on the planning merits of the application.
“We’ve received a considerable number of letters in support of the appeal and the business. There have been no letters of objection.
“It is clear from the letters that the nursery is a popular business that the local community values.”
Mr Scott said: “We have always been community minded. The community has been wonderful in offering us its full support.
“I cannot thank people enough. This has been a long time coming. We first put in an application that would allow us to sell Christmas trees in 2017. The council ‘declined to determine’ it.
“The inspector’s decision is a big step forward for us in our plans to rebuild Sheeplands.
“It is good news for us, our staff and our customers and is a welcome step forward for the business.”