Save Our Business
Save Sheeplands - The News Gets Worse / Your vote will count on May 5th
Dear Friends, 29 April 2016
I have just learnt that our dispute with WBC has just worsened. Not only have WBC chosen to refuse your petition of support, now over 10,000 unique signatures but worse have applied for an injunction against me and 7 of our family run concessions. We all have to appear at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand next Thursday 5th May 2016 accused of ignoring the terms of an enforcement notice.
This is frankly ludicrous when we are due to defend our position at a public inquiry in September when our appeal is to be heard by an independent inspector.
They are seeking to have the garden centre and most of its concessions shut down within 14 days leaving only the farm shop, part of the café and nursery. Needless to say we will be defending our position vigorously to ensure the future for our employees and concessions, their families and you our wonderful customers.
Ironically, this is the day of the local elections and although I do not like to get involved in politics normally I have been asked by so many customers which candidates are supportive of our business that I wrote to them all inviting them to state their position on our business. Of the 39 candidates standing for election 11 have so far answered. Of these 4 are Lib Dems 2 are cons. 2 labour, 2 Greens and 1 independent. All are supportive and some are super supportive.
All I can say is that the following candidates are 100% behind us and have promised to fight our corner if elected. I believe it is only by getting a more balanced council that democracy will work at WBC. At the moment they are ignoring the wishes of our 10,000 plus supporters and trying to shut us down “in the public interest” as stated in the injunction papers.
The candidates who I think would fight hardest for our cause are:
Lindsay Ferris - Lib Dem
Unstinting support over the years
Merv Boniface - Cons
Visited to confirm his support
Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe - Our home ward and where I live
Martin Alder - Lib Dem - visited to state his support
Stuart Crainer - Lab
Emma Hobbs - Conservative - Always been a supporter and has some sway over the sitting councillors
Nick Ray - Independant
Brian Scott - Lab
Paul Trott - Lib Dem
Long term supporter
David Hare - Lib Dem
Long term supporter
Steven Lloyd - Green Party
Came to visit especially as he had never been
David Worley - Green Party
Came to visit especially as he had never visited the site. Wrote a blog which you can all read here. 100% support http://davidworley.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/hare-hatch-sheeplands-garden-centre.html?m=1
Please ask the candidates themselves as I have no direct knowledge of their views.
I would like to thank them all for their support along with everyone who has signed our petition and sent letters of support as we fight for justice and democracy and remind everyone that in local elections only a few votes can make a big difference.
Kind regards and heartfelt thanks for your support,
from Rob and all of the employees and concessions at Hare Hatch Sheeplands.
Petition Handed in to full Wokingham Borough Council Meeting 24/3/2016
Last night, your petition to Save Hare Hatch Sheeplands, was presented to a full Wokingham Borough council meeting. Patrick Heather, a member of the public from Twyford, presented this petition and had one minute to speak. He was cut off with only 5 lines left to go - these 5 lines most significantly contained the final numbers. Around 25 staff, associates & friends of Hare Hatch Sheeplands attended in the public gallery.
It's suffice to say we are disgusted but not surprised about the treatment Patrick received in not being able to finish his brief speech on your behalf.
Unique WBC residents 2902 *
Unique non-WBC residents 5306
Total unique petitioners 8208
(*a figure of 1500 is enough to trigger a special council meeting on the matter if they wish too)
[The total number of signatures was in fact 9179 / Duplicates removed 971 - many of you have signed twice or more, which I think shows the depth of your feelings - thank you]
Customers of Hare Hatch Sheeplands garden centre in Twyford have been reminded that they have only a few days left in which to support the centre’s current planning applications.
"They can do that by emailing email@example.com, or completing an online comment form at www.wokingham.gov.uk.
Link to How to Comment on a planning application WBC
Link to read/see our planning applications in Planning Applications (search by the ref numbers given above)
Thank you for reading & thank you for your ongoing support.
Rob, Andy, Andrea and the team,
* * * * * * * * * * *
It has been a long time since I last wrote to you all and I am sure that you must have thought that all was well now with our planning negotiations with WBC.
Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth and we have endured a frustrating year as more and more delays and obstacles have been put in our path.
On the 31st March this came to an end when WBC issued a refusal to our lawful use application and simultaneously started legal proceedings to force compliance with the enforcement notice issued in August 2013.
My legal advisor says there is nothing that can be done to stop this process even if we appeal the refusal of the lawful use decision.
I now have to prepare a plan of compliance that is "reasonable" to Wokingham and which could lead to the closure and removal of everything other than the farm shop, coffee shop and plant nursery (only home grown plants permitted, not even compost, bulbs or tools).
At the present time we have decided to close the play area and children’s farm, we are also stopping events (including our fundraising grotto & popular craft market). We are cancelling all work experience placements & rationalising our staffing.
We have already shown through our financial justification for a previous compromise scheme that a business reduced to this level is not viable on this site. We are therefore at the mercy of the Wokingham planners.
I have attached a press release today and would ask you to consider letting Wokingham and your local councillors and prospective MP’s know your views in the hope that once again public pressure will help the powers that be see sense before it is finally too late.
I feel it is important that our supporters make their views known again to people such as
The Chief Executive of WBC – Mr Andy Couldrick Andy.Couldrick@wokingham.gov.uk
Executive Member for Planning and Highways, John Kaiser firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Development Management and Regulatory Services - Clare Lawrence Clare.Lawrence@wokingham.gov.uk
I am sorry to bring you this bad news and thank you all for the support and help you have given us all here at Hare Hatch Sheeplands. Please let me know if you can think of any other avenues that can be followed.
For now it’s business as usual
Read more (look to the right of this page for historical documents, the most recent are linked to below)
Director -Hare Hatch Sheeplands
email@example.com 0118 9704690